Franklin cheer team determined to rebuild after fire

Cheer fundraiser (WISH Photo)
Cheer fundraiser (WISH Photo)

FRANKLIN, Ind. (WISH) – Their gym was destroyed by fire, but a cheer team in Franklin is now determined to rebuild.

The fire happened the day after that big snowstorm, when temperatures outside hit those record lows.

The Fierce Allstars cheer group was started in 2011 by sisters Crystal Dyer and Sara Hawkins.

They now have more than 70 girls who cheer and tumble competitively with them, including a team of 17 girls with special needs with a range of disabilities, who cheer with them for free.

It was January 6 when fire broke out at their gym.

Dyer says firefighters were there for days as the fire smoldered, fighting the fire in frigid temperatures.

“We were here for seven hours that day, and all you could do is watch, and think about the way it used to be,” said Dyer.

“I come here every day to see the gym. I’m not sure what I expect whenever I show up here, but I definitely wish it was something our children didn’t have to go through,” Dyer added.

This gym was a dream of these sisters. They say they built it from the inside out, painting it, buying equipment as they could, and as the gym expanded.

“To see that gone, in a short six hours, is heartbreaking,” said Sara Hawkins.

They say they had insurance on their athletes, but didn’t have personal property insurance on all the expensive equipment inside.

“My first reaction was, we’ll never be able to do this, we’ll never be able to pull this off for a second time,” added Hawkins. “Just the resources it took from each other, I didn’t think we could do it. But the support from the community, the athletes and their parents, is something we didn’t have when we got started.”

They started fundraising themselves after that day, raising money on their own, but their campaign has since seen support from across the country, using the website “Crowd Tilt.”

It requires that the group raised $25,000 dollars before they even were able to collect the money from donors.

It was with some help from Colts owner Jim Irsay they made it to that $25,000 dollar mark Thursday.

He tweeted that he’d match the next $10,000 in donations.

The Colts have been very supportive of the Allstar’s special needs team.

“We couldn’t believe it,” said co-owner Crystal Dyer. “Just the support, the thought of us, is more than enough.”

“It means a lot, I like that a lot of people care and that they want to donate money to help us rebuild our gym,” said Fierce Allstar Breanna Perkins. “It’s very important.”

The Allstars are even able to rent space to practice right now, from the Hollywood Allstars, a group just down the road.

Their “Crowd Tilt” fundraising campaign only goes through Friday night at 11:59 p.m.

Dyer says the Allstars still need about $5,000 dollars to match Jim Irsay’s offer, and receive his $10,000 dollar donation.

To rebuild the gym, Crystal and Sara think they’ll need at least $35,000 dollars. To donate, click here.

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