You may have heard of Team Hoyt. They are a father and son team who have completed over 1,000 races and have even biked and ran across country! It is amazing to see their commitment to each other and to living life to the fullest. Dick Hoyt is the father of Rick who was diagnosed as a spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy at the time of his birth in 1962. His parents, Dick and Judy, were told he would not be able to live a normal life and that they should put him in an institution. Despite this his parents fought hard for Rick to have a normal life and pushed for him to be able to attend school in the public-school system.
Dick and Judy were committed to their son and taught him the alphabet and basic words, they even took him sledding and swimming not limiting him to being stuck in a wheel chair. Because of their commitment to make sure their son had all the opportunities he could have, his parents contacted engineers at Tufts University and paid them to build a special interactive computer for Rick. The computer had a cursor that could highlight the letters of the alphabet and once Rick had the letter he wanted highlighted he could select it with a tap of his head on a head piece attached to his wheel chair.
At 13 years old Rick was finally accepted into public school which also led to him attending college at Boston University which shows Rick’s commitment to not allow his disability to limit him! He graduated with a degree in Special Education in 1993.
After Dick’s retirement as Lieutenant Colonel in the Air National Guard for 37 years, Rick told his father he wanted to enter a five-mile benefit run for someone who was paralyzed in an accident and who was also a former Lacrosse player. Dick was not a long-distance runner but he agreed to push Rick in his wheel chair and they finished the race in the next to last place. Rick said, “Dad, when I’m running, it feels like I’m not handicapped.”
This was the beginning of over 1,000 races completed which included marathons, duathlons, triathlons which also included six IRONMAN competitions. They also, as mentioned earlier, biked and ran across the United States in 1992, which was a total of 3,735 miles in 45 days!
Team Hoyt’s website describes how they would participate in these races. In a triathlon, Dick will pull Rick in a boat with a bungee cord attached to a vest around his waist and to the front of the boat for the swimming stage. For the biking stage, Rick will ride a special two-seater bicycle, and then Dick will push Rick in his custom-made running chair (for the running stage).
When you watch them race together it is very moving to see Dick’s commitment to give his son the freedom he desires since he does not feel handicapped as he races. You can see Dick swim as he pulls his son behind him in the boat and then get out of the water and run while carrying his son to the running chair to start the next part of the race. They have set the ultimate example for us all to commit to push ourselves especially for the sake of others beyond what we or others may think possible.
Dick and Rick also founded The Hoyt Foundation which the donations they receive go to help further the education of those living with disabilities so that they can become active members of their community. They are committed to working to improve the quality of life for those with disabilities.
We can make the same choice today to live a life committed to what God has called us to do and most importantly to leading others to follow Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Maybe you have not made that commitment to Jesus yet? You can do that today, read our stories on how we made the commitment to Jesus at Meet My Father. Also, if you have not been discipled as a follower of Jesus or you need help to lead others in discipleship you can visit Emmaus Road and start your discipleship journey today! Let us follow the Hoyt’s example and be launched into a life of commitment today. We want to hear from you and what you think about the Hoyt’s commitment. You can write to us at [email protected].
Images courtesy of lifeofdad.com and believeinitapparel.com
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