Suns' Dancers make Valley woman's dream come true

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Stephanie Kmiec, who was diagnosed with Down syndrome as an infant, celebrated her 36th birthday by joining the Phoenix Suns dance team for Wednesday's game against Cleveland. By Brad Denny Stephanie Kmiec, who was diagnosed with Down syndrome as an infant, celebrated her 36th birthday by joining the Phoenix Suns dance team for Wednesday's game against Cleveland. By Brad Denny
By Matthew Seeman By Matthew Seeman
By Matthew Seeman By Matthew Seeman
By Matthew Seeman By Matthew Seeman
By Matthew Seeman By Matthew Seeman

PHOENIX -- Hundreds of women try out to be part of the Phoenix Suns’ dance team every year. After days of grueling auditions, the field is narrowed down to the 17 best dancers in Arizona.

But for the Suns’ game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, they rolled out the orange carpet for one extra dancer.

Stephanie Kmiec, who turns 36, arrived at U.S. Airways Center with her mother and friends from her doctor’s office to watch the Suns play. Stephanie, who was diagnosed with Down syndrome when she was 11 months old, was attending her first Suns game, but she had no idea what was really going to happen.

Stephanie joined the Suns Dancer for the game. The once-in-a-lifetime experience included a personalized jeweled jersey, and once she had her official pom-poms, she even started to teach her fellow dancers a step or two.

During warm-ups, Stephanie passed a ball to Markief Morris, and during the game, she entertained the crowd.

"She loves the Phoenix Suns," Stephanie’s mother, Gloria, said. "She really does."

Stephanie is an accomplished basketball player herself. Her basketball team went undefeated last year and won a gold medal at the Special Olympics.