Cheerleader with Down syndrome thriving in the San Fernando Valley

Saturday, October 19, 2019
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Bella Martinez, 14, has Down syndrome and made the Cheer Team at John F. Kennedy High School.

GRANADA HILLS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Bella Martinez, 14, has Down syndrome and made the cheer team at John F. Kennedy High School in Granada Hills.

"She was born, I didn't know she was going to have Down syndrome. When I was holding her, I mean, I fast forwarded to now to high school. I thought she wouldn't go to prom, she wouldn't do your typical teenage stuff, and here we are, she's doing cheer," said Yuri Martinez, Bella's mom.

Bella is like any other teenager: She goes to school, does her homework and has no problem talking about boys.

"She's like the one that encourages the boys on the sideline, she does like her own little chants. And that's fun to see because she has her personality, and it comes from her and within. She's just a natural cheerleader," said Elizabeth Ortiz, cheer coach for JFK High School.

Bella's parents and two brothers have seen her grow substantially throughout the years, more than they could have imagined.

When asked what advice she would give to other parents who have children with Down syndrome Bella's mom says:

"Don't believe everything you read, talk to parents, talk to people involved in the Down syndrome community. Don't limit your child, and they'll show you how much they can do and they'll show you their personality because every single child has their own individuality, even kids with Down syndrome."

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