In a world of amazing archers, USA Paralympic archer Lee Ford-Faherty is simply — inspirational.
12 years ago, at the age of 31, Lee was diagnosed with not one, but two disorders affecting her body’s ability to absorb nutrients. The resulting damage to her bones and muscles is irreversible. Nonetheless, she continued her speed-skating until she fell during a competition, herniating a disc and paralyzing her left leg.
Most people would have hung it up right then and there. But Lee Ford-Faherty is not most people, and that might be an understatement. No orgies of self-pity here. Her eyes radiate merry impish mischief. And in addition to speed-skating and archery, she is also a belly dancer, a fire performer, a bead and silversmith jewelry artist, a silk painter, a costume designer as well as a wife and mother.
Can I just say – Wow.
My Newbie eye was caught by an article about Lee, published yesterday in a Georgia newspaper. Lee lives in Perry, Georgia, a scant few miles from my own tiny hometown of Reynolds. I feel instant affinity. Lee has probably heard of Reynolds, which would make her one of the 0.00001% of Earth’s population who has.
Lee’s Latest Project
What she is doing to merit that article is VERY cool. Lee is working with the local governments and equipment shops to provide support – and an indoor range — for a local archery team. She already has an archery club that meets weekly for outdoor shoots, but there is much about archery etiquette and technique that is better taught indoors. And of course, there’s rain to consider. (I know, but we’re talking sub-Maconal Jeaw-ja here. Snow is ranked just under Burning Bush on the Miracle scale.)
Reading the article, I was struck by one point in particular — the reporter stated that Lee’s progress with the equipment stores has been slow.
What Are These Equipment Stores Thinking??
If the stores help fund a happy place for archers, they’re going to sell more equipment, right? More archers = better profits. Plus which, Lee is setting this up so that the equipment stores get the range time fees. You might think this is insignificant, but archery centers everywhere are bursting at the seams. Range fees are a guaranteed continuous income, a very nice hedge for a discretionary income retail business. I mean, really. It’s a win-win-win. Get with Lee’s program, you folks!
Lee’s ultimate aim is to reach the kids that are not reached by other school sports. Lee says that archery is “the ultimate equalizing sport,” which also teaches self-discipline, math skills, concentration and personal responsibility. You don’t have to be the biggest, strongest, or fastest to succeed, she says. And impressively, as Lee also points out, archery has an excellent safety record – surprising considering you have eight year olds wielding lethal weapons, but the numbers don’t lie. (Parent Alert: Archery is good for your kids!!)
How could one NOT be awed and inspired by this woman?
I have no doubt that Lee Ford-Faherty will succeed in her aim. Her long list of career accomplishments attests to that.
And when she does, I hope my Google Alert for archery news will bring me a story of an aspiring archer from Reynolds, GA.
I’d like that.