A Kennewick native who's been making a name for herself in para-equestrian competitions will represent the United States at the World Equestrian Games in France in August.
Roxanne Trunnell, 29, earned a spot during the recent selection trials in New Jersey.
"I'm excited," she said. "We've been working for this for a while."
Trunnell started out as an able-bodied dressage rider. But in 2009, she developed encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain, brought on by an unknown virus.
She lapsed into a coma and may have suffered a stroke. The illness has affected her speech and mobility, but not her determination to excel.
She has moved through the ranks of para-dressage, entering the selection trials as the top-ranked rider in North America. Hope Hand, president of the United States Para-Equestrian Association, told the Herald in April that Trunnell is known as "Roxie with the moxie."
"She's determined and confident," Hand said, adding that Trunnell is "a real competitor."
Trunnell, who has two older sisters and an older brother, grew up in Kennewick. She and her parents, Sid and Josette Trunnell, left the Tri-Cities last week for Texas, to be near Roxie's trainer.
Trunnell, who spoke to the Herald before she left, said she was excited about the move, as well as the upcoming competition in France.
She and her horse, Touch, are a strong team, and "I think we'll do well," she said.
The Herald has been chronicling Trunnell's progress in the para-dressage world for more than a year.
After the World Equestrian Games, Trunnell has her eye on another high-profile competition: the 2016 Paralympics.
Trunnell, who has a master's degree in psychology, also has talked of her goal of inspiring others with a message of perseverance.
"People shouldn't give up on their dreams," she said.
She said she's grateful for the support she has received from the Tri-City community.
Trunnell has a blog at www.roxannetrunnell.com.
Donations to help with the cost of her para-dressage competition, including travel for her parents to France for the upcoming World Equestrian Games, can be made through the U.S. Para-Equestrian Association at www.uspea.org, with Trunnell's name included in the special instructions field, or via mail to 3109 Bluewood Drive, Rowlett, Texas, 75089. Checks should be made out to the USPEA, with the notation they're for Roxanne Trunnell.
-- Sara Schilling: 509-582-1529; email@example.com; Twitter: @saraTCHerald