“Dad, when I run, I feel healthy.” History of the Hoyt family

The power of parental love is truly limitless. Even in the most hopeless situations, she can find a way out and make the child happy. Today I will tell you an amazing story that will definitely not leave you indifferent. US Aviation officer Dick Hoyt was a man of character, but his heart sank painfully when the doctor delivered his verdict: “Your son has cerebral palsy.”

The boy was only 8 months old then. It was 1962 in the yard, which meant that the child had one way to go – to a boarding school for mentally retarded patients. The doctor frankly said that they could not hope for more. It seemed to the father that his son was looking at them with meaningful eyes, and he firmly refused the doctor’s offer. The boy was born with his neck wrapped with an umbilical cord.

As a result, it significantly limited the supply of air, and the brain was constantly experiencing oxygen starvation. That is why brain-muscle contacts were disrupted, and doctors made a terrible diagnosis. When the child was brought home, he really could not control his limbs, but he moved his head tolerably well. When Rick, as his son was called, reached school age, his mother began to teach him the alphabet.

All the items in the house were hung with the appropriate pieces of paper: “door”, “table”, “wall”, etc. Every week, Rick’s parents took him to the Children’s hospital in Boston, where the doctor advised them to try to treat their son like an ordinary child. His parents took him on all walks. They learned the alphabet with their mother quickly. But the Hoyt family wasn’t going to stop there. Dick and Judy dreamed of including their son in society, education, sports and eventually in work.

They appealed to the administration of public schools, convincing them of Rick’s full intellectual worth. But it was important to solve another problem – the son’s ability to communicate with others. A qualified group of engineers from Tufts University of Massachusetts developed and assembled an interactive computer for the boy on an individual order. The device pronounced the words that the guy typed on a special keyboard with his head.

To pay for the order, my father had to work as a bricklayer at a construction site in the evenings after the service, until $ 5,000 was accumulated. The first words the computer uttered were the call to action of the favorite hockey team. It became clear that the boy loves sports and follows the games. The combative character was a distinctive feature of the representatives of the Hoyt family. Rick often played hockey with his brothers Russell and Robert. It was placed on the gate.

With them, he sledged, swam and even managed to play baseball. When the boy was denied entry to high school in 1974, his mother launched an entire campaign for education reform in the state. As a result, a new law against discrimination against the disabled was adopted and thousands of children with disabilities went to school together with their peers. The Hoyt team originated in 1977.

Rick asked his father to participate in a charity race together in favor of an athlete who was paralyzed. Rick wanted to show the guy by his example that it is possible to live with a disability. My father was 36 years old at the time, he had never run. But the desire to support his son was huge, and he survived these 8 km of the race, getting huge calluses and terrible fatigue from pushing a clumsy cart with Rick.

They came to the finish line second to last. The son’s further words decided everything for Dick: “Dad, when I run, I feel healthy.” My father started to study purposefully. While his son was away to study, the man ran daily with a bag of cement placed in a wheelchair. In 1981, they finished in the Boston Marathon for the first time. After 4 years they took part in a triathlon: a 1.6 km swim, a 64 km bike race and a run of almost 33 km.

In the swim, the father towed the boat with his son on a rope attached to his belt. The guy was riding a bicycle on a special seat above the front wheel (later they will adapt a wheelchair trailer). In the race part, Dick was pushing a wheelchair with his son in front of him. Rick himself was also not a blunder: he independently graduated from Boston University and became an employee of the university laboratory, participating in the development of training programs for the disabled.

In 1988, the Hoyts “got close” to the most difficult Ironman World Championship triathlon in Hawaii. Here it was necessary to swim 4 km, ride a bike a little more than 180 km and run 40 km. The organizers of the competition refused to turn them on, reasonably fearing for safety. Judy moved the case from the “dead point”.

She used the connections with senators that she had developed during the campaign for amendments to state laws, and the Hoyt team took part in a prestigious competition, which is considered one of the most difficult tests for a person. While many athletes struggled to reach the finish line themselves, Dick managed to overcome this distance together with his son. In 2003, Dick had a heart attack while preparing for a marathon.

It came to stenting. After being discharged from the hospital, the attending physician frankly told the man that if not for increased physical exertion, Dick could have had a cardiac arrest 15 years ago. Together with their son, they joked that the “vegetable” turned out to be healthy. By March 2016, the Hoyts had more than 1,100 races in their sports assets. Among them are 72 marathons, 6 full Ironman triathlons.

A special story was the 1992 race, when a father and son traveled more than 6 thousand km across the United States in 45 days, combining cycling and running. On April 8, 2013, a bronze statue depicting a father running with his son was erected near the start of the Boston Marathon in honor of the Hoyt team. That year they did not manage to run the marathon, because the terrorists set off explosive devices at the finish line. Fortunately, they were still far enough away.

They finished their last marathon on April 21 of the following year. 73-year-old Dick Hoyt entered the race with a sore back. His still paralyzed son was already 52 years old. The team has many awards, and their names are immortalized in the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame. One day Rick was asked what he would like to give his father if he could give him something.

Rick said that he would most like his father to sit in a chair, and he had the opportunity to push him forward. Their story is an example of boundless fatherly love and dedication. A story about how we can properly guide the lives of our children and make them happy even in the most difficult life circumstances.

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