Dick and Rick Hoyt, best known as “Team Hoyt,” have known each other their entire lives. Rick is Dick’s son, born in 1962 to Dick and Judy Hoyt in Holland, Massachusetts in the USA. As a result of oxygen deprivation, Rick was diagnosed as a spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy at birth. His parents were told it would be best to put their son in an institution because there was no chance of Rick recovering, and very little hope for him to live a “normal” life.
Rick and Judy said,”no.” They knew that Rick’s eyes followed them around the room and that give them the hope that he might somehow be able to communicate someday. With weekly visits to the Children’s Hospital in Boston, they met a doctor who told them to treat their son like they would any other child. That’s exactly what they did.
Rick learned the alphabet with his mom spending hours every day teaching her son with sandpaper letters and taping signs on every object in the house. Dick and Judy we resolved to the idea that their son would be included in community, sports, and education opportunities, and one day, even in the workplace.
In 1977, Team Hoyt was formed when Rick asked his dad if they could run in a race together. The race was to benefit a lacrosse player at his school who had become paralyzed. Rick wanted to inspire others and prove that life went on no matter what your disability might stand in your way. That’s a great idea, the 36-year-old father thought. One slight problem, Rick was NOT a runner. But amazing things happen when parents are challenged to make a sacrifice for their child, so Dick became a runner. In that race to help a friend, Dick pushed his son’s wheelchair for the full five miles of the race.
After their first race Rick told his father, “Dad, when I’m running, it feels like I’m not handicapped.”
It was after that when Dick began running every day, pushing a wheelchair with a bag of cement. The cement was a substitute for Rick because his son was busy studying at school. Rick’s dad met and exceeded some personal goals, and over the span of thirty-five years, “Team Hoyt” not only achieved but surpassed their own goals. Even more impressive, they also crushed everyone else’s expectations of a dad-carrying-towing-and-pushing-his-wheelchair-bound adult son.
Great fathers make sacrifices. Great fathers give their time, money and physical energy freely for the sake of giving their children a better life. Great fathers are inspired by their kids, and that brand of inspiration quickly turns into motivation to do whatever it takes to accomplish ANYTHING.
These two and their mom are a living inspiration to us all. Watch the video and be inspired for yourself.