Hope Mullery dreams of being a cheerleader for the University of Notre Dame.


That’s not surprising. The fourth-grade student who lives in Danville, Pa., is one in a line of big-time Notre Dame fans, according to Joselle DeRemer, her mother.


“Her father’s family is Irish and they are all Notre Dame fans,” DeRemer says.


Mom says that her family and the family of Hope’s stepfather, Bill DeRemer, all root for the Irish.


The family has another connection to the college and the football team.


“My dad coached Ron Powlus in high school,” Joselle DeRemer says of the former Irish quarterback.


Now, a large contingent of the family is in South Bend to cheer for Notre Dame and to cheer for 9-year-old Hope as well.


Hope, who is battling cystic fibrosis, got a special gift when the Make a Wish Foundation granted her desire to be a University of Notre Dame cheerleader for a weekend.


Hope practiced with the cheerleaders Thursday.


“I learned two cheers and did stunts and tumbling,” Hope says.


She says that she can’t remember the names of the cheers, but in one of them the cheerleaders yelled, “Go Irish!”


On Friday, Hope and her family used the tunnel that the players and cheerleaders use to enter the field. Hope walked in with the cheerleaders during Friday’s pep rally, and she will practice with them prior to today’s game with Michigan State.


What game-day experience would be complete without engaging in a little tailgating, and Hope will dine on some pre-game eats in the parking lot.


Hope’s reaction to the activities that she will be involved in this weekend is a combination of understatement and wide-eyed excitement. In short, she was a typical fourth-grader.


“I think it’s gonna be really fun,” she says.


Mom says that her daughter deserves to have some fun.


“This is awesome. It’s wonderful to see her get this dream because she wants to be a cheerleader,” DeRemer says.


“Hopefully, here at Notre Dame.”


DeRemer says the treatment for cystic fibrosis is very difficult.


“It’s a challenging day-to-day routine that she has to follow, so it’s nice to break the monotony of all of the medications, even if she still has to do the treatments and physical therapy,” DeRemer says.


“It’s nice to enjoy this atmosphere. It makes us all feel better.”


Staff writer Howard Dukes:
hdukes@sbtinfo.com
574-235-6369