MUSKOGEE, Okla.--- An Oklahoma native is on her journey to Rio as she heads to the 2016 Paralympic Games.
This is Cassie Mitchell’s 2nd Paralympics to compete on team USA’s Paralympic track and field team.
For the past 17 years, Mtichell has been paralyzed from the chest down, but this year she was faced with a new obstacle, cancer.
Instead of letting her illness get the best of her, she said she's more motivated than ever to compete.
"Heading to Rio is like a dream come true." said Mitchell.
The 35-year-old Biomedical Engineering professor is currently second in the world in Paralympic discus and club throwing.
"To be able to put on the USA uniform and compete for your country it's just a feeling like no other and I'm very honored to be able to represent my country." said Mitchell.
At the age of 18, Mitchell was paralyzed from Nueromyelitis Optica also known as NMO, ultimately becoming a Quadriplegic.
But while getting ready for the Olympic Trials in April, Mitchell was hit with a new challenge, Leukemia.
"I knew it would be another obstacle, yet that she would have to overcome." said Mitchell's mother, Clara Sue Mitchell.
Mitchell is now having to balance training 15 to 20 hours a week with going to doctor appointments and undergoing Chemotherapy.
Clara Sue Mitchell said her daughter is a fighter, and cancer isn't going to stop her focus.
"She has the will and I think that's what she has over other athletes. Maybe that will be in her favor is that she has the deep desire, will power. It takes will power not just talent." said Clara Sue.
Last time Mitchell went to the Paralympics in 2012 in London, she came in 4th.
She said her motto is never, never, never give up, and this year she's hoping to bring home a medal for Team USA.
"Reaching the top step and hearing the anthem would be really amazing, but after having to endure so much I'm first of all thankful to be there, but obviously getting a medal and hearing the National Anthem would be like a cherry on the sundae as they say." said Mitchell.
Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere.
Sign up for newsletters emailed to your inbox. Select from these options: Breaking News, Severe Weather, School Closings, Daily Headlines and Daily Forecasts.