Paralympian and ‘Dancing with the Stars’ contestant Danelle Umstead will tell her story
Danelle Umstead knows a thing or two about living healthy.
The Alpine skier who lives with a visual impairment won bronze in the Vancouver and Sochi Paralympic Games and placed fifth in the Super G in Pyeongchang. In addition, Umstead and her ski guide and husband Rob Umstead have won 50 World Cup medals.
Not only does she have to maintain her strength and fortitude racing down the slopes, she does it living with multiple sclerosis.
So Umstead didn’t hesitate to say yes when Beth Armstrong, People’s Health Clinic executive director, asked her to give the keynote address at the nonprofit’s annual Walk and Wine for Women’s Health fundraiser on June 30.
“The People’s Health Clinic provides services for all people, but their women’s programs do have a special place in my heart,” Umstead said. “So I wanted to absolutely be a part of this.”
Umstead, who is in the process of writing an autobiography, doesn’t have a lack of health-related topics to talk about.
“I have a pretty heavy story when it comes to being an athlete dealing with my health and overcoming obstacles,” she said. “Since I do many speaking engagements around the country, my talk has become a lot of those hard moments like losing my mom and being diagnosed with multiple diseases.”
Umstead hopes her speech inspires at least one person at the fundraiser.
“When I was a little girl, I would always say that I wanted to change the world,” she said. “My motto is ‘Live your impossible.’ And if my story inspires someone to live their impossibles, then I feel like I’m making a difference.”
In addition to her sports trials and accomplishments, Umstead plans to “spice up the talk” and share her experience competing in the 27th season of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” last September.
“To think that thousands of people were watching me dance blind was amazing, and honestly, I never felt so vulnerable,” she said.
The athlete worked with dancing partner Artem Chigvintsev, and the team was eliminated during the second night of the second week of competition. The couple’s elimination, however, came with controversy. Due to a technical glitch, all the phone votes were left uncounted.
“As a competitor I was disappointed in how we went out, and it was super hard for me to overcome that,” she said. “But I would still go through that pain again, because I made amazing friends.”
Umstead said giving a keynote speech during the People’s Health Clinic fundraiser give her opportunities to give back to the local community that has supported her as a “Dancing with the Stars” contestant, a winter-sports athlete and as a mother.
“I’m raising a son in the community, and it has given us so much,” she said. “I want to show him how important it is for us to give back.
“I mean, we live in a beautiful place, so why wouldn’t we support where we live?” she said. “I have traveled all over the world, I’m always excited to come back home. This is home.”
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