Let's start with a little background. Ashlee grew up in Indianapolis and was athletic. Although at the time, she was not an avid huntress, she loved the outdoors. Her story is one of seeing what is possible and then going for it. Whatever you do, be inspired by this interview.
Handicapped Outdoors (HO) - How did you land in a wheelchair?
Ashlee Lundvall (AL) - I was 16 years old at the time of the accident. I was attending a camp at a ranch in Wyoming for the summer. One of those cool experiences where you learn about ranching while doing the work too. Anyway, there were chores. I had to give the steers some hay and I had climbed up on a hay rack to fork some hay out for them when I lost my balance. All I could think of was to NOT land on the pitchfork, so I got it away from me. Unfortunately, I still landed on the handle of the pitchfork directly on my back. My T-12 vertebrae was damaged.
I immediately knew something was wrong. I couldn't move my legs and just felt an odd tingling sensation in them. The doctors later confirmed that indeed paralysis was the outcome.
HO - Wow, a pitchfork? How did you react to this news, I mean you were only 16?
HO - So, what was the turning point? How did you get out of the funk and into living again?
AL - So many people go through a phase of trying to "fix it". They look for anyway possible to overcome their situation. I think I had an edge over them because from the beginning, I just accepted that this is the way life is going to be and so I rose to the challenge of "A Life Redefined."
HO - Hey, that's the name of your book. Tell us how that came about?
AL - First, the ratio of people who are paralyzed is largely male. I found that I was the anomaly and didn't have anyone to talk to about my situation. So, my Mom and I just began making up ways to live and to do what I wanted to do. I typically did it big too, my first flight after being paralyzed was to Maui. I kept a journal of all the stuff we did to overcome the situations that we encountered never thinking that anyone else would be reading that stuff. I really kept it so I could remember what worked and what didn't.
I also wanted to help others in the same situation and so I began speaking to groups. It was actually my speaking coach who looked at me one day and said, "Write a book, here is the deadline for it to be completed." Nothing like a deadline right? So I did. A Life Redefined was birthed.
|Brown on the ground|
AL - That started with my husband and I moving to Wyoming. I fell in love with hunting and fly fishing. I knew with my speaking and having authored a book that I wanted to make an impact in the outdoor world.
HO - The outdoor industry can be a tough nut to crack. How did you do it?
AL - I have to give credit to John E. Phillips who interviewed me for an article with Wheel:Life. He is an outdoor writer and knew the people I needed to talk to. I contacted company after company, sending presentations and inquiries. I went through all the no's, or in my case many of them didn't reply at all, likely not because they weren't interested but just busy. If you don't have a thick skin, you may never break through in this industry. Mossy Oak was the first company that reached out to me. I am grateful for their response because they are a wonderful company and a leader in camo design.
I attended the 2016 Shot Show in Las Vegas this past January and will also be featured in the NRA's - All Access show next season.
HO - Very nice! Ok, let's get truly serious for the readers now. What is your best fishing tip?
AL - In fly fishing, going to the local shop in the area you are planning to fish is truly the biggest tip I can give. They will know spots to fish, which flies to match the hatch and what techniques will work best.
|530 yards - Wow!|
AL - Foundation! I shot my first bull Elk in 2013 at 530 yards. I could never pull the trigger if I wasn't confident of a humane kill. Your base is critical to your success whether it is a rest or a shooting stick.
HO - Great stuff, I wish I could shoot like a girl! Any final thoughts or words?
AL - Yes! I would love to speak for your group. Please go to ashleelundvall.com and send me a request. Also, if you are someone who just needs to ask a question and don't know who to ask, shoot me an email. I will answer as promptly as possible.
Wow, there you go sports fans! What an amazing story from an amazing lady. Grab her book and support her in her quest in the great outdoors. Thanks Ashlee for spending time with us and we support you in your journey.
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