UNION PARISH, La. (KTVE/KARD) — Gun violence has plagued communities nationwide. Athena Goldsby-Hill is one Union Parish woman sharing her story over 20 years after her personal experience.

Goldsby was around the age of 14 when her life changed forever. On September 8, 1999, a group of men entered her parents’ home and opened fire on Athena and her mom in an armed robbery. Athena’s mother was shot in the face while Athena was shot and left paralyzed from the waist down.

I was just going to the tenth grade, so I was around 14. For me that was pretty hard because I had the mindset okay, now I’m going to therapy and they’re going to help me walk again; so, I’m going to get out of this wheelchair; but here I am I am in my late thirties, and I am still in a wheelchair.”

Athena Goldsby- Hill, Gun Violence Survivor.

Despite the tragic event, Goldsby still chooses to move forward with joy because she has a huge purpose in front of her.

“I’m at a point now in my life where I can’t be sad you know. I have babies; four girls and a son and I have to live a life that is encouraging to them.”

Athena Goldsby- Hill, Gun Violence Survivor

Goldsby also expressed her concerns about the current gun violence. She encouraged parents to talk to their children and also encouraged them to take other routes.

Its hurtful, you know you watch mothers on tv cry about losing their children you know it’s heartbreaking. Me and mom you know we’re fortunate to still be here. “

Athena Goldsby-Hill

Now Athena is using her voice and story to advocate and inspire others. She recently released a book entitled “Unlocked Diaries.” The book shares her experiences through poems and short stories and speaks about her journey after surviving gun violence.