Sande Sez: Cards Cheerleader Working Frontlines Of Corona

For over a month now, I have been self-quarantined inside my house to do my part to slow the spread of the corona virus and help take stress off of the healthcare system. I have no symptoms, but I have no idea if I am also asymptomatic. So, I stay inside to keep myself and others healthy.

Some people don’t have that luxury.

Some still have to go to work, some still have to be in contact with others and some are on the front lines, face-to-face with the corona virus every single day. 

Those are our healthcare workers. They are working long hours, putting their life at risk and doing it all for others.

Well, right here in our very own state of Arizona, we have an Arizona Cardinals cheerleader that isn’t just stepping up to the plate to help others, she’s putting on the full armor each day to fight the war on this pandemic.

Meet Darby.

Darby just finished her fourth season with the Cardinals Cheer team. Darby grew up in the Valley and the Cards were always a part of her life. She knew one day she wanted to be a part of the National Football League and further her professional dancing career.

“It’s been the most life changing four years.” Darby expressed. 

Darby’s favorite memory of being a cheerleader came a few months ago when she traveled to Hawaii and Alaska for some special Super Bowl events with Pro Tour Productions and Armed Forces Entertainment. She, along with six other cheerleaders from other teams, were sent to different military bases in both states and were able to spend time with the men and women of our military who help serve and protect our country. 

“I really was able to form a deeper appreciation for what they do for our county,” she explained. “We were able to bring a piece of home to their military bases. It’s incredible the sacrifice they make for our country.” 

Ms. Darby took a chance on herself and auditioned a few years ago and has been living her dream of dancing in the NFL ever since. Now, auditions for cheer teams in the NFL should have happened already, but due to the pandemic, the Cardinals have not had theirs yet. Usually, by the time the draft arrives, the new Cardinals Cheer team would be set and the Cardinals organization typically uses the NFL Draft as a way to showcase their new cheer team. That is not going to be the case this year. Traditional auditions typically have hundreds of girls gathered, all vying to make it while the team would be making cuts throughout the day. That also won’t the case this year. Everyone is still adjusting to the new normal. Some teams are going virtual with their auditions, some are holding off. As for the Cardinals, Darby said “there are no plans that she knows of, of how the Cardinals cheer team will handle this year’s auditions.” 

Darby doesn’t just dance in the National Football League, but she also has a servant heart. One that has lead her to be a Registered Nurse. She has been a nurse for six years and always knew she wanted to work in healthcare.

“I really wanted to be at the bedside and be with the patients, doing those interventions, spending that time with the them and that was a nurse in my eyes,” she said. “I really just wanted to help people and impact lives.” 

Darby doesn’t work in just a regular emergency room, but she works at the fifth-busiest ER in the country. Before the pandemic hit Arizona, she actually was a part of her hospital’s disaster team that did all the planning on how they would to respond to the Corona virus, specifically in her department.

She credits her hospital for preparing her well for the pandemic.

“I’ve learned a lot from the leaders in my hospital,” Darby explained. “We are learning from the hardest hit places like New York and California. You learn a little about disaster management in school, but nothing really prepares you until you’re actually in it. So it’s been a lot different.”

There are so many healthcare workers out there, risking their lives every single day. Darby said she has felt so supported in this time, especially from the Cardinals’ organization.

“They have been incredibly supportive,”  she expressed. “I really got lucky to be involved with an organization that cares about all of their employees. People from the front office, high up in the front office, have been reaching out asking what they can do to help and have been donating meals to my hospital… just making sure we are doing okay. I feel really supported by the organization and by my teammates.”