BOISE, Idaho — A local adaptive track athlete from Bishop Kelly has had her sights set on making the Paralympic Track and Field team for Tokyo 2021 since she was a little girl. But, after multiple diagnoses and major surgery, it hasn't been easy to get there.
"I started track when I was seven years old," Annie Carey said. "I fell in love with it and long jump."
Despite having a permanent leg disability, Annie set her goals high at a young age.
"She has a dropped foot and nerve damage in her left leg," Sarah Carey, Annie's mom said. "That means she competes against other athletes that have lower leg disabilities and amputees."
On top of the difficulties of being an adaptive athlete, Annie was thrown another curveball at the end of last year.
Doctors told her she would need surgery for her worsening scoliosis.
"I was really sad when he was like, 'surgery is the last option,'" Annie said. "I didn't want to stop training."
“Getting the diagnosis was very difficult. She has huge dreams, and as a parent, you don’t want your kid's dreams to be dashed," Sarah said.
It was devastating news to Annie who was training to compete at the Track and Field Paralympic Trials, just seven months away at the time.
"I just let it sink in, and I was like, 'it is going to be OK. You’re still going to have so many more opportunities. You're going to grow from this,'" Annie said. "It was hard. I had to relearn to tie my shoes, how to put them on, and go to the bathroom. All that kind of stuff."
But with a lot of patience and determination, three months after major back surgery, Annie was back to her training.
She'll head to Minneapolis later this month in hopes of achieving her dreams of making the U.S. Paralympic Track and Field Team.
NBC will air coverage of the Paralympics during prime time for the first time ever this summer, a huge win for the community.
"It means a lot," Annie said.
"I hope more people and more kids realize that they can do these things and that there is a place for them," Sarah said. "You don't have to sit on the sidelines and watch the event."
Annie will head to the Track and Field Paralympic Trials in Minneapolis from June 17-20.