Taking aim: St. Francis senior shoots on despite incurable skin disease
Villanueva is a state champion in air riflery
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
Imagine shooting a tiny target about the size of an almond from 25 feet away.
That's the sport of air riflery in a nutshell.
Now, imagine doing this without being able to have full range of motion in your joints.
That's the challenge for Isabel Villanueva, a St. Francis student who's hitting the bulls eye in life.
"I have linear scleroderma," Villanueva said. "It's an auto immune disorder, so basically what it is, is the hardening of the skin. So it creates scars on my body and where ever the scars form is where I have limited range of motion."
Villanueva has had the incurable disease since she was 10-years-old.
Because her movement is limited, active sports were out of the question, but she found her comfort zone behind the scope.
"My dad was in the army like I said, so i've been around guns, but i've never really had to shoot it or got to shoot it, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to handle a rifle properly," Villanueva said.
One of the symptoms of Isabel's condition is the inability to make a fist.
Also,staying in certain positions becomes very uncomfortable.
Her coach Delwin Dang realized she was quick to adapt to those restrictions.
"Because her body can't move in some of the positions to best use bone support, she has to modify some of her positions and because of that she's using more muscle and it's not as steady as it could be if it was in an ideal position, yet she still manages how to make it work for her and perform at the highest levels," Dang said.
For the last four years, Isabel's been taking dead aim on records in the state and across the country.
She ended this past season as a state champion and is one of 7 women to fire a perfect score at the NRA junior championships.
"It's not whether you have obstacles or not because everybody has obstacles, it's how you deal with it and in her case she's been dealt some obstacles and she's been able to overcome them and it's always amazing to me," Dang said. "The most amazing part is not how well she performs is that she does it without complaining. It's just a matter of course, that's just the way she is."