Blind Athlete Neill Biddy Found a New Family Through Running
On June 24, NYRR and Achilles International will host the Achilles Hope & Possibility (4M) to celebrate the spirit that brings together able-bodied athletes and athletes with disabilities. Leading up to the event, we'll be sharing the stories of Achilles athletes like blind runner Neill, whose world was changed when he was introduced to the sport.
Neill Biddy has been a member of Achilles International for two years. He first heard about the organization when his doctors told him that he needed to find a way to exercise despite his health conditions. Neill is blind and lives with hydrocephalus, or "water on the brain."
After the recent loss of his mother, Neill was struggling. His grief, combined with his disabilities, made him severely depressed. Something needed to change.
Neill was given the phone number of Anthony Butler, another visually impaired runner and Achilles athlete, and reached out. Anthony told him all about the program and running in Central Park. Neill was interested, and from there, Anthony introduced him to a few other Achilles athletes. The rest, as they say, is history.
Running has opened up a new world for Neill and helped him not only change his outlook on life, but also find a family he never knew he had—other runners who are just like Neill.
"I love running with my runners and joking around," Neill says. "It calms me down and mellows me out."
Neill has completed six NYRR events since he started racing in 2017, but he's most proud of the 2018 United Airlines NYC Half. He crossed the finish line with his guides and surrounded by friends.
With no plans to stop anytime soon, Neill hopes to inspire more people to join Achilles International. "Ever since I have been running, I always recommend Achilles to people whenever I meet them," he says. "It helps them get out of that dark space and do what they want to do."
Interested in running with Achilles International, want to make a donation, or know someone who could benefit from being a member? Visit achillesinternational.org.