November 12, 2010
It saddens me to report the passing of Kathy Urschel, an incredible woman who was the epitome of my message about using adversity as fuel instead of letting it overwhelm you. At the age of 21, Kathy had lost her vision and by 28 she also lost her hearing (later restored with cochlear implants). Most people who had gone blind and deaf at a young age would resort to bitterness and woe-is-me outlook on life. Not Kathy! She took on adversity and showed the world that it wasn't going to keep her down.
Kathy won a silver medal in cycling at the Atlanta Paralympics. She raced as part of a 6-person team on a tandem bicycle for 3,000 miles across the US in seven days. She competed in outrigger canoeing, went alpine skiing, hiked in the backcountry, and even played golf. in 1999, following a bad bike crash, she suffered blood clots in her legs that led to a stroke and she was told she would never walk again--less than three weeks later, she was back riding her bike.
I was fortunate to know Kathy and, like many, was charmed by her incredible personality and joy of life. A mutual friend, Kim King, related that "I even had the honor of reading your book (Touch The Top) to her in 2 days (such a beautiful memory). She wouldn't let me put it down."
Sadly, a tragic accident claimed Kathy at only age 46. Here is a nice remembrance about her.