FORT BELVOIR, Va. — When Spc. Michelle Sanchez goes to The Netherlands to compete for Team U.S. at the Invictus Games, she'll have her daughter there to support her. And that means more to her than anything else.
"She's been on my journey of recovery, and showing her all of mom's hard work — I want her to see that," Sanchez said. "She had a big impact on me, and I just want to show her that we did it together. It's been a really long journey. She saw my rough times and she helped me through it."
Sanchez, who hails from San Antonio, Texas and medaled at the 2017 Department of Defense Warrior Games, specializes in archery and will also compete in cycling while at the Invictus Games.
These games are a big opportunity to be a "beacon of hope for other people," she said.
"That's my highlight: helping other people," she said. "Don't get me wrong, of course I want to take home a medal. But we can impact other people and that's what being a teammate is all about."
This is Sanchez's first Invictus Games. It's a different experience because instead of representing her service branch, she'll be representing her country.
She spends a lot of time shooting arrows in the backyard to train for archery, and she likes to take the trails and hills in the San Antonio area to train for cycling. Fitting all that in can be a challenge, but she makes it work.
"I'm just trying to maintain a work life, a training life, and a family life," she said. "I just do the best that I can."
Adaptive sports have helped her forge lasting relationships. She's close friends with another Invictus Games competitor, Staff Sgt. Beth King, and they met through sports. She even convinced King to participate in a ride across America.
"She didn't think she could do that," Sanchez said. "I said, 'you're a really good cyclist. Let's push you to the next level.' Then we became really good friends."