Minda Dentler contracted polio as an infant living in India.
Her legs were paralyzed, and she was left in an orphanage. At 3 1/2 years old, she was adopted by an American family and moved to Spokane, Wash.
A series of surgeries enabled her to walk with leg braces and crutches. In 2013, she became the first female wheelchair athlete to complete the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii.
Dentler, a 42-year-old New York City resident, will share her inspiring story at Riverview Health Foundation’s Women of Vision Aug. 27 at the Marriott Indianapolis North, 3646 River Crossing Pkwy. The event begins at 4:30 p.m. Dentler’s keynote speech is at 6 p.m. The event was previously scheduled for April 29 but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I have been very internally motivated,” Dentler said of overcoming her setbacks. “In the context of Ironman, I set the goal of completing the Ironman World Championship in 2013 after a failed attempt in 2012. This was about proving to myself that I could do it. Also, I didn’t want to regret not trying again. Having those reasons in my mind were important to keep me motivated to do the work to get it done.”
Dentler was introduced to handcycling at age 28 and triathlon at age 30. Prior to that, she had never done any sport. Dentler attended a triathlon camp with athletes with disabilities in 2009 and met Jason Fowler, a wheelchair athlete and former Ironman World Champion in the handcycle division.
“With his encouragement, I was able to complete the Ironman World Championship five years later,” she said.
Dentler, who works as a program manager for a large global insurer and has a 5-year-old daughter, still competes in triathlons.
“I have completed two Ironman (140.6 miles) triathlons since my Kona finish in 2013,” she said. “I try to do least two triathlons a year. Lately, I have focused on the half-ironman (70.3 miles) and have completed races in Dubai, Cartagena and Marrakech.”
The Women of Vision event includes networking and hors d’ oeuvres. The Women of Vision Giving Club will announce its grants. Cost is $50 per ticket and $1,000 for corporate tables. For more, visit riverview.org/womenofvision2020.