Get your tissues ready, this story is beautiful and inspiring. The 2014 Boston Marathon will the 32nd Boston Marathon for Team Hoyt. Last year, due to the events that happened, they were forced to stop about a mile from the finish line. Dick Hoyt at the age of 73 says he has one more Boston Marathon in him. He has been suffering from severe back pain. Their first Boston marathon was in 1981 as Dick pushed Rick in a wheelchair.
Ricky was born in 1962, but suffered from oxygen deprivation to his brain and was diagnosed as a spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy. Against doctor’s suggestions, Dick and Judy had a quest to include Ricky in everything they took part of in their lives. Dick and Judy saw that their son was intelligent and had the ability to learn like everyone else. However, they needed to find a way to help Rick communicate for himself, so they built him a computer. Because his first words were not “Hi Mom,” or “Hi Dad,” but “Go Bruins!”, his parents knew he loved sports and followed the game just like anyone else. After graduating high school, Rick attended Boston University, and graduated with a degree in Special Education in 1993.
Their racing career began in the spring of 1977. Ricky told his father he wanted to participate in a run for a paralyzed Lacrosse player. His father agreed to push Rick in his wheelchair. They came in next to last, but that night Rick told his father, “Dad, when I’m running, it feels like I’m not handicapped.”
Since that day, Team Hoyt has run over 1,100 races including marathons, duathlons and triathlons (6 of them were Ironman competitions). And Dick and Rick biked and ran across the United States in 1992. It took them 45 days to complete the 3,735 miles. They are absolutely unstoppable. The thought of even doing an Ironman blows me away, but to know that Dick did this while pulling his son in a boat or riding a special two-seater bike and then pushing the wheelchair is absolutely remarkable.
When Dick and Ricky first wanted to run the Boston marathon, they did not want them to. Now there is a bronze statue of them near the start line. With their motto “Yes You Can”, they want so show that if you are disabled it doesn’t mean you have to site on the sidelines. Although his father won’t be pushing him in future Boston marathons, Ricky will continue to compete with a new partner. He will still run with his dad, and compete in shorter races, just not in marathons.
I have a brother with special needs but we always included him in everything we have done. I remember going to the Special Olympics when he was younger and being so proud of him. I was so touched by the athletes giving their all in their events. My brother works a full-time job where I work and participates in the volunteer Fire Department in our town and we have lived with the same motto as the Hoyt family. You can do anything you want to do.
This is a message that I am teaching my children. They are sitting with me right now as I type this blog post and they watched the movies and stories of Dick and Ricky. I want my children to know that “Yes You Can”. My motto to them is “Never Give Up.” I hope for the chance to see Dick and Ricky at the race on Monday. What a special relationship.