Athlete Spotlight: Mary Helen Biller

Mary Helen Biller was born with spina bifida. Mary is currently retired, but for 25 years she spent her days as a preschool teacher and childcare provider. She is an active member and board member of the Spina Bifida Association of Iowa. In her free time, Mary enjoys spending time with family and working out so she can stay physically active.

Mary has been involved with Adaptive Sports Iowa for about 12 years. She participates in ASI’s wheelchair tennis, winter ski experience and 8035 adaptive fitness programs, in addition to other adaptive recreation programs, including adaptive kayaking, rowing, and zip lining. When asked her favorite ASI program, she can’t choose just one and responds with both wheelchair tennis and adaptive fitness. She says, “I love to work out. Adaptive Sports Iowa and the Spina Bifida Association of Iowa have always supported me in doing so, and I’ve become stronger than I ever thought I would be.” Mary hopes to use this strength to try adaptive rock climbing someday.

In all her time at Adaptive Sports Iowa’s programs, Mary’s favorite memories are of meeting people who have the same disability as her and supporting each other in their spina bifida journeys. She advocates for people with disabilities because, in her words, “I can accomplish more than what they think I might. Anything is possible, regardless of one’s disability.” Director of Adaptive Sports Iowa, Hannah Bowman says, “Mary has been great to work with in our programs. She is always willing to try something new and pushes herself outside of her comfort zone. I love her attitude and perseverance in whatever she is doing!”

Mary’s passion for adaptive sports comes from seeing others with disabilities experience something that they didn’t think they could or ever would do, and that’s something she wants to share. “If you see something you want to try, go for it! I’d rather try than go through life not really knowing if it’s possible – because it just might be.”

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