, Muskogee, OK

October 26, 2012

Warner grad, paralympian to speak

— Cassie Mitchell will be speaking at 10 a.m. Monday at the York Street Christian Church, 1125 S. York St.

Mitchell, a 1999 Warner High School graduate, was a member of the London 2012 Paralympics U.S. Track and Field team.

Mitchell was a member of the Lady Eagles’ track state championship and an outstanding barrel racer among other rodeo activities, having won four world championship event titles and two all-around titles.

Just weeks after her high school graduation, her legs wouldn’t move.

The sudden strike came from a condition known as Neuromyelitis Optica or Devic’s Disease, an auto-immune, inflammatory disease of the central nervous system in which there are episodes of inflammation and damage to the myelin (fatty, protective covering of nerves) that almost exclusively affect the optic (eye) nerves and spinal cord.

She graduated from Oklahoma State University in 2004  summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. In 2009, she obtained her doctorate in biomedical engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University School of Medicine as a National Science Foundation Fellow.

She currently is research faculty in biomedical engineering at Georgia Tech and is the primary investigator of a National Institute of Health research grant on Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or ALS.

Mitchell has continued her elite athletic career as a quadriplegic with career highlights that include two cycling world championships in 2011, a cycling world record in 2012, and numerous American records in wheelchair track and field.