TBBC Pro Bowl Cheerleader Lauren’s Blog from Hawaii

Aloha Bucs Fans!

Lauren here! Your 2013 Pro Bowl Cheerleader! It’s such an honor to represent our Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cheerleaders here in Hawaii!

Day 1:

Today started of early… My husband got me to the airport 6:30 AM, in full hair and makeup, before my 15 hours of traveling. Woo hoo! But I was very excited and ready to go!

After a nice, short flight to Atlanta, landing, major airport traffic and sitting on the plane for an extra 30 minutes, I somehow made it from one end of the airport to the other in less than seven minutes. It was a little stressful to say the least! But once I was on board, I got to pull out an awesome little package from my TBBC sisters. The outside of the package read “Do Not Open Until You Are On Flight 837 – Love TBBC”. The package was filled with letters from all of the Buccaneer cheerleaders. It truly made my 11-hour flight so much more enjoyable!

After reading each letter, I started looking around the plane and saw some other Pro Bowl Cheerleaders and got so excited! They all looked so beautiful, but were too far away to meet. My anxiety was increasing, I just wanted to talk to them so badly!

When we finally made it, all seven of the PBCs that were on the flight waited at the end of the gate for each other. It was as if we were all best friends and we just hadn’t seen each other for a while. So awesome! Continue reading

Buccaneers Cheerleaders Share Meaning of Thanksgiving

The Hillsborough County Family Partnership Alliance (HCFPA) is a non-profit organization, run solely by non-salaried foster or adoptive parent volunteers. They provide local caregivers of foster children with resources, trainings, food and clothing assistance and a much needed support system.

Being a previous adoption social worker, I have witnessed the amount of sacrifice and love these foster and adoptive parents provide every day. These families have touched my heart and changed my life throughout the past few years. As a Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cheerleader, and a part of the Buccaneers organization dedicated to community service, I knew I had to step out and give back to an organization that has so greatly impacted my life.

On November 9, a group of TBBC had the honor to join the HCFPA in their “Thanksgiving giveaway” food pantry. With the holidays approaching, a 14,000-pound donation of food was delivered to HCFPA. With much gratitude, the staff reached out to TBBC for some extra helping hands. As Tampa Bay Buccaneer Cheerleaders, teamwork is a necessity to our success on the field and throughout the season. Upon arrival, we quickly formed an assembly line and started sorting, bagging and preparing bags of Continue reading

TBB Cheerleaders: Tampa Bay Vision Walk

Earlier in the year, Maria Cartagena, a five-year veteran of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cheerleaders came to visit the squad and shared that she had been diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa. RP is characterized as progressive peripheral vision loss and night vision difficulties that can eventually lead to central vision loss.

The cheerleaders were immediately compelled to act. We have shown our support by attending fundraisers, donating to research and support organizations, and most importantly have just been there to show Maria how much she is loved and supported by our organization.

Our efforts to support Maria were most visible Saturday, October 27, at Al Lopez Park, where current and former cheerleaders took part in the Tampa Bay Vision Walk with over 350 other participants. Our team was one of the largest, with over 50 people coming out to show their support for Maria and others affected by vision disabilities. Our team wore matching purple “Marching for the Cure” shirts displaying her initials to show our commitment to Maria and her battle. Together we were able to raise over $8,600. Continue reading

TBB Cheerleaders: Already Embracing Military Appreciation Week

On October 15, I had the honor of visiting the men and woman of the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital of Tampa with some of my fellow teammates for a fun night of Bingo and ice cream.

Upon arriving, I quickly realized that some of the wounded veterans were even younger than me, with the ages ranging from 19 to 100 years old. I can’t begin to imagine the sacrifices they have made to serve and protect our country and an overwhelming feeling of gratitude rushed over me.

I found my Bingo seat next to Tom, a Vietnam War veteran. He shared his story with Continue reading

TBB Cheerleaders: Strength, Courage and the Color Pink

Zienia Cabrera was given life-changing news in early December of 2010. She was told she had approximately 18 months to live. The diagnosis was stage IV breast cancer and, needless to say, this news turned her world upside down. At only 31 years young, this happily married mother of two made it her goal to LIVE out the rest of her life and not waste a single moment. Her bucket list included tailgating for a Tampa Bay Buccaneers game, something Zienia had never experienced. And this is how Zienia came into my life…

A friend of mine, Misty, called and told me Zienia’s story and asked if I was able to help her do something really special for Zienia. I wanted nothing but to help make her dream come true by giving Zienia a once-in-a-lifetime experience! I arranged a meet and greet for Zienia with my fellow cheerleaders at our Saturday field rehearsal. We were so anxious to finally get to meet this vibrant and brave woman that we had heard about. Continue reading

TBB Cheerleaders: Taking Strides for Breast Cancer Awareness

On Saturday, October 6, several of my teammates and I participated in the 14th Annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure®. Knowing it was for a great cause, we decided to tackle the 10K.

We arrived bright and early in our pink Tampa Bay Buccaneers Breast Cancer Awareness shirts at the Vinoy Park in Downtown St. Petersburg. It was so motivating and emotional to witness the thousands of people who came out to celebrate the survivors, the fighters and those that came to honor a loved one that succumbed to this life threatening disease.

Once the race began, a sea of pink filled the streets. All of the runners were supporting each other and the energy was infectious. My teammates and I encouraged each other to not stop and as the finish line came into sight, we agreed to sprint to the end just like we do at our weekly rehearsals. We finished strong in under an hour, which was a great accomplishment!

It was truly an honor to support this organization and its commitment to finding a cure for breast cancer. This was my first time running in the Race for the Cure, but definitely not my last. I look forward to running again next year along side my teammates, survivors and supporters.

This Sunday, we will support the NFL’s “A Crucial Catch” campaign to support the fight against breast cancer. The stadium, players, coaches, referees and of course your Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cheerleaders will be wearing pink to help raise awareness for this important campaign. Hope to see you there!

Cheers!

- Ashlee