Two-time Paralympic gold medalist Lakeisha Patterson has learnt to be resilient and accept the challenges put in front of her.
Patterson returned home from the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games with two brand new gold medals to add to her collection.
Affectionately known as Lucky, she has cerebral palsy, early-onset Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy and micrographia which has paralysed much of her left side. However, she has never let the barriers put in front of her get her down by changing her disability into an ability.
"Having a disability, I think you learn pretty quickly to be resilient and to look for opportunities and accept the challenges placed before you," Patterson said.
"I guess, I always had an athlete mindset from a very young age, in terms of not giving up and navigating tricky situations," she added.
The 19-year-old started swimming when she was about five years old to relieve the pain she suffered from muscle stiffness from her cerebral palsy.
"Swimming lessons were more fun to me than extensive physiotherapy and massage," she said.
Swimming allowed Patterson to stretch all her tendons and muscles, which reduced day-to-day muscle spasticity but it wasn't until she was watching the 2012 Paralympics as a 12-year-old that she was inspired to take up her next goal.
"I wanted to become a Paralympian," Patterson said.
"I knew it wasn’t going to be easy but I stepped up my training, started eating well and took a whole new approach to life.
"I am sure that my family thought I was joking but they were happy to assist me with my goal and dream," she said.