Paralympian, veteran going for the gold in Thailand - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Paralympian, veteran going for the gold in Thailand

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Kinga Kiss-Johnson has a shot at Paralympic gold, but she needs help to get to the games. Kinga Kiss-Johnson has a shot at Paralympic gold, but she needs help to get to the games.
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

A South Carolina veteran is aiming for a shot at the Paralympics, but needs some help getting there. Kinga Kiss-Johnson was injured in Afghanistan, but has found healing in archery.

What was a form of therapy has become a competitive passion. Kinga Kiss-Johnson earned a chance to face off with some of the best archers in the world, if she can afford to make the trip.

"I do a lot of things on top of it, but archery just gives me that piece of mind that I need," said Kiss-Johnson.

The soft-spoken Romanian was a college basketball player during 9/11, and says the stories of parents making repeated deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, led her to enlist in the Army.

"I said if I can have one mother or one father not deploy again because of me, I'll do my duty," said Kiss-Johnson.

Like thousands of other volunteers, the decision would cost her. Her wounds came in 2010 in Afghanistan when the driver of her vehicle swerved to avoid another packed with explosives. It messed up her back and her mind.

"I had great difficulty socializing, going out, being around people, around cities and noises," said Kiss-Johnson.

She found archery in occupational therapy, and a new extended family of soldiers who had similar stories.

"It was overwhelming, the feeling of how many soldiers are in the same shoes as you are," said Kiss-Johnson.

She gradually began venturing out, winning a silver at the Warrior Games and a spot representing the U.S. at the World Paralympic Championships in Bangkok, Thailand. She just needs $6,000 to get there.

The Crossroads Wounded Warrior Archery Foundation, who donated the bow that got her started, is stepping up again to help raise money. Kiss-Johnson wants any extra to go toward bows for other wounded vets, giving them a similar shot at peace.

"Getting that equipment means they'll go out of their house, get up from their couch, and hopefully they will have a little goal that helps them think, 'I'm OK," said Kiss-Johnson.

To donate to Kiss-Johnson's fund, you can send checks to the following address:

Kinga Kiss-Johnson Fund
c/o Bank of Clarendon
P.O. Box 908
Summerton, SC  29148

Or, you can visit http://www.gofundme.com/kinga

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