x
Breaking News
More () »

WNY's Great Kids: Buffalo Envy Cheerleading's Team Extraordinary

Among the hundreds of athletes at Buffalo Envy Cheerleading in Lackawanna, is a special squad for adaptive cheerleaders called Team Extraordinary. That team exists because of the inclusive heart of a boy from Kenmore.

LACKAWANNA, NY- Among the hundreds of athletes at Buffalo Envy Cheerleading in Lackawanna, is a special squad for adaptive cheerleaders called Team Extraordinary. That team exists because of the inclusive heart of a boy from Kenmore.

Buffalo Envy founder Colleen Bugman said she had always wanted to form a team for athletes with special needs, but there wasn't much interest. Then six years ago, one of her cheerleaders, Mason Forney, asked her about it.

“Mason talked to me about not having an adaptive program here at Buffalo Envy and he asked if we could start one. And I told him, ‘Mason, I've been trying for years to start one and I just can't get kids interested.’ And he said, ‘my brother and sister are in the waiting room. Would you start one for them?’ The next week we started practicing,” said Bugman.

Team Extraordinary began with only 5 cheerleaders and now there are 20. Those include Mason’s 26-year-old brother Sebastian, who is blind and has severe cerebral palsy, and his 16-year-old sister Emily, who is on the autism spectrum and has mild CP.

"My brother and sister would always come to my competitions and cheer me on and I wanted them to feel like they were fitting in with me and the rest of my friends," said 13-year-old Mason.

Now Mason, an 8th grade student at Kenmore West High School, volunteers and cheers them on at practice every week.

"Mason has been 100% dedicated to this group for years and years and years," said Bugman.

He's a friend to those with special needs outside the gym as well. Mason volunteers with the Special Olympics, and helps to coach a baseball team for athletes with disabilities. He escorted a friend with special needs to the homecoming dance. And he pushed his brother in his wheelchair to lead his KAT Raiders football team on the field.

"You grow up a little different when you have special needs siblings. Priorities change,” said Mason’s mother, Jennifer Hayes. “He's genuine. He genuinely loves and cares for people and is willing to give everybody that chance."

Mason's sister says she finally feels normal thanks to her brother.

"People always assume I can't do anything but I really can,” Emily said. “My brother is totally supportive.”

Team Extraordinary exceeds all expectations. It is one of the top teams in the world for adaptive cheerleading. Yet Mason says the feeling he gets in his heart is better than any trophy or accolade.

"It makes me feel great knowing that I can make a difference for other people. It brings me joy and it makes me happy," he said.

For more information about Team Extraordinary, click here to visit the Facebook page.

Paid Advertisement

Before You Leave, Check This Out