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Month 6. March 2011. Patty Phommanyvong & Safety Awareness.

Help Cheer for a Cause provide a van for Patty. Click here to help now.


Three years ago, Patty had just moved to the U.S.A. from Laos and wanted to be a cheerleader. What could be more fun? More American?

Many may think of it as just another stunt, a liberty cradled on the sideline. But for Patty, this liberty was anything but routine. She had only cheered seven weeks, and this catch stopped her heart and changed her life forever. She is now unable to walk or talk or eat on her own. Patty's pending case is complicated and alleges a defibrillator was not working properly at her California high school and by the time an ambulance arrived and the EMT’s got her heart beating, nearly 30 minutes had passed. Her case also claims her coach was improperly trained and her stunt group was too inexperienced to perform the advanced stunt.

We can help. Patty’s family needs a reliable van to take her to and from doctor appointments. Her family of four lives in a small two-bedroom apartment. After the accident, Patty’s parents lost their tailoring business. Mom now works nights in a factory and dad stays home to care for Patty. The financial strain is tremendous. 

Kimberly Archie is the lead champion of Patty's cause. Archie is founder of the National Cheer Safety Foundation, President of USA Sport Safety and Partner with the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research. She lives near Patty in Los Angeles and visits her often. Kimberly's voice breaks with emotion when asked about Patty.

Julie Bolton, founder of Cheer for a Cause said, “The heart of our Cheer World is at its most compassionate when one of our own is catastrophically injured.”

Patty tries to communicate through blinking, once for no and twice for yes. And she's working on operating a pull string to turn her radio on and off.

Cheer for a Cause is partnering with the National Cheer Safety Foundation and hopes to raise $20,000 in March to help Patty and her family get a van. Click here to help. Any donation is appreciated, and 100% is tax-deductible and will go direct to the van fund.

"Her body is very, very stiff. She opens her eyes and sometimes blinks. She cannot eat or talk. I think she recognizes us, sometimes. I think so," Patty's father Say Phommanyvong told ABC News.

(Photo on left is Patty and Kimberly Archie, founder of the National Cheer Safety Foundation. Photo on right by Francine Orr, Los Angeles Times, of Patty with her mother Vilay and father Say.)

Safety Resources

Do you and everyone on your team know what to do when an injury occurs? Be prepared. No cheer or dance team should be without a comprehensive and rehearsed Emergency Plan.

Emergency Plan

When an accident happens, it's important that it is reported. Visit the link below to register your Emergency Plan and file a report.

Sports Injury Report

A heart screen can save a life. Here are some sites with information:

Heartfelt Cardiac Projects

The Anthony Bates Foundation

Parent Heart Watch