A young northeast Iowa woman is the state’s new spokesperson for people with disabilities.
Twenty-four-year-old Tasha DeGroote of New Hartford was crowned in Iowa City over the weekend as the new Ms. Wheelchair Iowa.
She will represent Iowa at the Ms. Wheelchair America pageant in Houston, Texas, in July. DeGroote has spina bifida but hasn’t let it stop her from learning to compete in a host of activities.
“I like to play sports,” DeGroote says, “wheelchair basketball, track and field — the 100, the 200, the 400 and the shotput.” Her platform for the year will be to inspire other people in wheelchairs to pursue sports.
“I want to make sure they are aware that there are opportunities out there to be able to play sports,” DeGroote says. “Just because you’re in a wheelchair doesn’t mean that you can’t still do them. You just have to figure out a different way to do it.”
DeGroote works as a paraeducator in the Waterloo school district.