Cheer raises funds, spirits

This past Saturday, the Rensselaer Cheerleading Team held a fundraiser for a fellow cheerleader in need, Mya Hauser. Mya is a sophomore at Ballston Spa High School, who was recently diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma—a cancer that starts in the white blood cells. After going through many tests, biopsies, and surgeries, she was given a positive prognosis and began a process of six months of chemotherapy and three weeks of radiation.

As you can imagine, Mya had to deal with the many side effects of chemo, including hair loss, nausea, and fatigue. Through it all, she has remained positive and continues to fight; she completed her last week of radiation, and her doctors have said they are pleased with the results of the treatment plan. She is hopeful that she will soon be cancer free and is planning to get back to the gym to prepare for next year’s cheer season as soon as possible.

The fundraiser consisted of selling raffle tickets and collecting donations throughout the week in the Darrin Communications Center as well as at the modeling event in the Rensselaer Union. Prize packages were put together from the various donations of clubs, local shops, and restaurants, including the Collegiate Store, The Flying Chicken, Muddaddy Flats Quesadillary, Daily Grind, and RPI Hockey. Some of the prizes included gift card packages, time at a pottery studio, earrings, golden hair bows, and the main prize, a 32” TV. I bought five tickets and was hoping to win some gift cards or the studio time package at The Pottery Place, but unfortunately all I came home with was a cookie. The guy next to me won the TV; so that was exciting.

The main event featured a fashion show showcasing varsity uniforms and cheer outfits. The models, consisting of RPI cheerleaders and other student athletes around the capital region, strutted down the catwalk, while Chey Thompson ’20 announced the models’ name, and the different components of the outfits. In the background, DJ Sean Lossef ’20 was jamming out while playing the music for the models to walk to. The show was most likely more enjoyable for the cheerleaders in the crowd, but, since I don’t need any cheerleading uniforms, my favorite part of the fashion show was definitely watching Sean quietly headbanging and dancing in the background while the models obliviously continued their modeling.

The event was well attended, and the team was able to raise $600 that went directly to Mya and her family to help with the many medical costs. The Rensselaer Cheerleading Team will continue to post updates on Mya’s condition on the team’s Facebook page. You can also read updates from her family or donate to her GoFundMe page at