Lee Ford approaches everyday with a fresh outlook. Growing up sports meant a lot Ford, and now even though the competitions change with the passing years, Ford keeps her focus set on the target.
Bullseye straight down the middle, with bow aimed and ready, and nerves calmed, Lee Ford eyes the mark.
"It's something that you can just easily fall in love with," said Ford.
Ford, who lives in Perry, is a member of the US Para Olympic Team. She recently brought home a gold medal from the Parapan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Her story doesn't begin with gold medals and victories. In April of 2005 Ford faced an uphill physical battle. Crohn's disease, along with other health problems, caused paralysis in Ford's left leg.
"My spine is basically collapsing. So the nerves on both sides coming out to my legs are compressed and so I have what's called Paresthesia. I have numbness and weakness and don't always know where my feet are," said Ford.
After her diagnosis, Ford's sports activities came to a near halt. Then one day a friend convinced her to go to the archery range and soon she fell in love with the sport.
"And the next thing I know I see the 2008 Beijing Para Olympics and the USA's Lindsey Carmichael won the bronze...I'm going to do that," said Ford.
From that moment, Ford began learning how to take her skills to the next level...(NAT) Ford shoots around 200 arrows in just one day. Ford spends countless hours shooting, training and working on technique all in an effort to become a word class athlete
"They say it takes 10,000 hours to make an Olympic gold medalist. I'm putting in a little more time than that...Probably about 5 or 6 hours a day, 6 days a week," said Ford.
Ford is not alone in the quest for gold; her biggest fan is her sister.
"Anything I can do for her, for her to reach her goal is the most important thing to me," said Theresa Wietstruk, Ford's sister.
Ford will need all the family support she can get. Doctors tell Ford her conditions will get worse and her health will slowly decline. But no matter the obstacle, her target is set, her sight is strong.
"If I have to shoot from a wheel chair, I can do that. You know, I've practiced that, some day it might happen that I'm using my wheel chair on a more full time basis. And you just deal with what you get. It happened to me so it didn't happen to someone else; God knew I could handle it," said Ford.
Ford plans to compete in the Olympic Trials in San Diego this spring and needs help getting there. Anyone interested in knowing more about her quest for the Para Olympics or how to help out check out her facebook page by clicking here.