Bent Not Broken
By Hannah Hoang The Prowl News
How Junior Cheerleader Riley Ray Isn’t Letting Scoliosis Keep Her From Doing What She Loves
If you’ve attended an Amory High School Football game in the last three years, you’ve most definitely seen Riley Ray on the sidelines cheering on the panthers. A junior at AHS, Riley has been a cheerleader all throughout high school and middle school. “From the time I was a little girl, I have always wanted to cheer. Cheer is in my blood, and something that my whole life has formed around.” Riley’s passion for cheerleading shines through on the sidelines as her bright smile and passionate cheering can be seen and heard from the other side of the stadium. However, this season of cheering took a turn for Ray.
Riley was diagnosed with scoliosis in October of 2018, and her obstacles with pain began around the same time. On July 2, 2020, she underwent spinal fusion surgery. Her scoliosis was able to be corrected with two rods, eighteen screws, and two clips in her back. “This has been a painful process. From the time I got out of surgery all I wanted to do was go back to being my normal self.” After weeks of prayers and patience, Riley got the all-clear to be back on the sidelines and do some of the motions with her teammates. “Don’t get me wrong, cheering is not the easiest thing to do in the world…I have to sit down very often at games and can only do small things right now.”
Despite these obstacles and the new normal that Riley is facing, she is still able to do what she loves most. “Having what you love the most taken away from you is a very hard situation. Through this all I have told myself this is what God has planned for me.” Her goal is to be back cheering fully by her senior year. For now, Riley will be cheering on the Panthers to her fullest extent with her whole heart. “I will be back cheering 100%, and that is a promise.”