We are a 501c3 non profit focused on creating
a lifelong community of women and girls with a disability.
“Sisters” who will inspire, empower and
motivate each other to “Live Their Impossible”.
Our Founder, Danelle Umstead
- Alpine Skier
- Three-time Paralympic Bronze Medalist
- Three-time Paralympian
- 52 World Cup Podiums
- 3 Overall World Cup Globes
- Motivational Speaker
- Wife & Mother
Being a female in sports is tough – It is even more challenging for a disabled woman in sports.
I was fortunate to find a small group of women and girls, and we fiercely supported each other through the challenges. As I have witnessed disabled sports grow over the years, I have noticed the community for women and girls is fading; there is minimal support and a need for more collaboration between athletic women with disabilities.
I found my superpower at a late age in my life. I started losing my sight when I was 2 years old, and throughout my childhood I wore thick coke bottle glasses which made me a favorite amongst bullies. Growing up was not easy for me, and I never felt a sense of belonging in the life I was living.
When I was 13 years old, I was told I would go blind to an eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa. Doctors said I would slowly start to lose my sight, and one day I would live in total darkness. The timeline was uncertain, but there is no cure. The diagnosis eventually became a dark shadow that would follow me through my twenties. My parents did not prepare me for “living” with my disability. They were always searching to find a cure(SM2), so when the darkness started to take over my life I could not see a way out. It impacted me both physically and mentally; I felt lost and alone. I was not aware of the opportunities waiting for me out there in the big world.
I was introduced to skiing at the age of 29, which ignited a light within me. I knew from the moment I skied I was where I belonged.
Defying all the odds; despite my age, lack of ski experience, and limited sight, I was determined to become a professional athlete. Regardless of whether you want to become a professional athlete, or do what you love to stay active and alive, having your own community – where you have the support you need to find your light – matters.
For me…I had a Vision; I was determined to represent my country at the 2010 Paralympic games. No matter the doubters and lack of support. I found my way, and I created my own community . While the medals, globes, awards, and fame changed my life, the journey, the relationships, and the feeling of Mastering My Impossible was what truly made me the strong woman I am today.
Without mentorship and establishing relationships with all the amazing athletes – I believe I still would be in that dark place. The community of women and girls in sport – who chose to lift me up and allowed me to lift them up as well- believed in me, and most of all encouraged me to be “my best self”. Thank you all for helping me find my superpowers.
You have helped me see light in a world I thought was full of darkness and I want to share those superpowers with the next generation of strong disabled women.
I truly believe in my heart we are all better together.
Our Co-Founder, Bonita Hutchison
Bonita has devoted the majority of her professional life to serving the non-profit community and advocating for individuals with disabilities. Bonita began her career and developed a passion for the disability movement with Special Olympics Texas. She continued as a volunteer for 20+ years and circled back to her roots as Development Director for Specials Olympics Utah.
Most recently, Bonita served as Executive Director of One Revolution, an international non-profit that uses the stories of Paralympic Athletes to teach resilience education in schools across the globe. Bonita and Danelle met thru One Revolution and with just one call, the two became great friends.
Knowing Bonita is fueled by her passion for encouraging individuals with disabilities to live their best lives, Danelle came to Bonita with the idea of starting Sisters in Sports Foundation and within days the program was born. Today, Bonita serves as a Real Estate Agent in Park City, UT and serves on the Board of Sisters In Sports Foundation
Why Bonita is Involved:
“I love Danelle and support everything she does, but when she came to me with the idea for Sisters in Sports Foundation – I had to be in! I love everything about it – the world needs more women who building up women and encourage them to live their best lives, but women in disability need the inspiration even more. I am excited to stand with Danelle and bring these programs to life. Together we will build programs that develop exploration, ignite passion and give women strength to build their voice. Women with disabilities need this —- no, all women need this, but we have to start somewhere!”
I saw a need to create opportunities for women and girls. Helping Them Live The Impossible. As an adaptive athlete, I have seen what the power of sport and community can do to change lives. It is even more important for women with disabilities to reach their full potential.
“I want to contribute and see women thrive with a disability.” – Danelle Umstead, SIS Founder