DENVER - When the Denver Nuggets dancers perform on Saturday night during the 1st timeout break at the Pepsi Center, they'll have a new member who is twice their average age -- 43-year-old mother Colleen Carlson.
Carlson will be there to bring attention to kids and families dealing with Autism Spectrum and various sensory disorders and raise money for her non-profit organization, "8 Counts for Autism."
Carlson's own daughter, 7-year-old Tess, had open heart surgery at age four and has been dealing with spectrum issues for two years. But that didn't stop her from becoming a Junior Nuggets dancer.
"We have done everything we possibly could to help her and she has truly been the most courageous little girl undergoing hundreds and hundreds of exercise, therapy and nutritional sessions," Carlson said. "I've never seen anyone work so hard for so long and still dance around like a princess!"
It was Tess who suggested that her mom dance with the Nuggets.
"When we were thinking of a way to help other children who need financial help, Tess asked me if I would dance with the Nuggets," Carlson said.
"Dance with who?" Carlson asked her daughter.
"With the cheerleaders for a routine, Mom," Carlson said Tess told her.
"After I laughed out loud, the Nuggets kindly said yes, and so I will be performing a routine with girls that are half my age in an effort to raise money for kids affected by Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorders," Carlson told 7NEWS.
April is Autism Awareness Month and Carlson is hoping to raise $8,000 Saturday night when the Nuggets announce what she is doing.
Learn more on the Carlson's website: http://www.8countsforautism.com/
Learn more about Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders: http://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism