Danelle Umstead's Blog - Meet Team Vision4Gold

Aug. 10, 2009, 3:43 p.m. (ET)

I spent a lot of years feeling sorry for myself, praying for a cure, and even doing the denial thing. The denial thing did not work out so well. I truly believe my prayers were answered. Not in the way you nor I would of thought. The life I am living NOW, and what I am doing...  I never imagined it could be possible for me. Never could I imagine a blind person ever being able to do the things I do today. Just take a moment and imagine doing something you really love to do, now close your eyes and try to do it. Sounds impossible!!!  That is what I thought too. I know now that I can do anything, it just might be done in a different way.

The amazing life I live today would not be, without my Dad (Peter D'Aquanni) introducing me to adaptive skiing. Which led me to my husband and soul mate  Rob Umstead. Rob believes in me, he does treat me different, and he makes me feel unique. We now have a 2 year old son Brocton who is living this amazing life we live. Who would have thought a family going to the Paralympics? What I mean by that is my husband is my guide; he gets me down the race course. I trust in him and what he says to get me through each and every race.  Without him I could not ski race. We have been racing together for one season, and because of our strength as a team we had a stellar 2008/2009 ski season.

This was my first season ever to race downhill, let alone ski on skis that long.

Needless to say "I was terrified" We conquered my fears and dominated.

Just a small recap of the season ...

8 gold medals in NORAM (Downhill, Super-G, Giant Slalom, and Slalom)

1 woman's overall (Huntsman Cup)

3 x Bronze medalist World Cup Finals Whistler, BC

 (Downhill, Slalom, and Giant Slalom)

5 x US Adaptive National Champions

Now we are US Adaptive Ski Team members, and I am here writing a blog for US Paralympics/ Team USA. Pinch me am I dreaming??? Stay tuned over the next 9 months leading up to the 2010 Paralympic Games, and our adventure as a family. I would have never imagined someone like me would be a future Paralympian. I am proof that anyone can do anything as long as they work hard, don't give up, and believe in you.  I am not going to sugar coat it, we have to work extra hard and I constantly remind myself... I can do it. I am so excited to tell everyone what we have are up to this summer. Go to our website to learn more about Team Vision4Gold www.Vision4Gold.org

Life for me is not always an easy journey, but it is one I will continue conquering.