When 40-year-old Kriste Lewis decided to audition for the New Orleans Saints cheerleading squad, she never expected to actually make it!

“I wanted to set a goal for myself, and the audition was a specific date that required specific training, so my goal was just to make it to the audition,” Kriste, who lives about 100 miles away from New Orleans, shares.

Although the mother-of-two hadn’t fine-tuned her cheerleading skills since high school, she successfully became one of only 36 girls to make the 2014 New Orleans Saintsations roster!

new orleans saints cheerleaders

Not only is the current dance instructor the oldest woman to ever audition for the squad, she and one other member are the only women over 40 to make the team this year.

And despite being diagnosed with a debilitating kidney disease that will eventually lead to dialysis treatments and a kidney transplant, the illness has only made her work harder.

“I know my time is limited,” the gorgeous brunette says. “I don’t want to let any time go. I want to make every day count.”

kriste lewis

Kriste will make her debut with the Saintsations at the team’s first exhibition game of the season on Aug. 15, and she couldn’t be more excited!

“I can’t wait to get on that field,” she shares. “Just being able to put a cheerleading uniform back on and go at it for my favorite team is unbelievable to me, and I’m having a blast.”