Dick and Rick Hoyt, the father-son team who have overcome disabilities to compete in triathlons, Ironman competitions, marathons and road races throughout the world, will give a talk on Wednesday, Dec.3 at 7 p.m. in the Hogan Ballroom at the College of the Holy Cross The event is free and open the public. The talk is sponsored by, Holy Cross Goes Unified, which is a student organization that invites Special Olympians to campus on Sundays to play sports together with Holy Cross students. They play soccer in the fall and basketball in the spring. The relationships between the students and Special Olympians is both mutually rewarding and challenging.
Rick Hoyt was born to Dick and Judy Hoyt in 1962 with cerebral palsy. This was a result of oxygen deprivation to his brain at the time of his birth. This would leave Rick without the ability to speak or control his limbs. His family noticed that Rick was quite astute and was very mindful of what other were doing around him. The Hoyts saw infinite potential in their son and continued to educate and advocate for him to get the services he needed to be able to succeed. Rick was able to use a device to communicate that was developed for him by engineers at Tufts University. The first words that he spoke with the device was “Go Bruins.” When Rick was 13 he was able to attend public school. He then went on to attend Boston University where he received a degree in special education.
The Hoyts started their physical journey in the spring of 1977, when Rick told his father that he wanted to participate in a 5-mile benefit run for a lacrosse player who had been paralyzed in an accident. Dick agreed to push Rick in his wheelchair and they finished all five miles, coming in next to last. That night when they got home, Rick told his dad “when I am running I do not feel handicapped.”
Since then, father and son have competed in more than 1100 races, including marathons, duathlons and triathlons (six of them being Ironman competitions). In 2013, they were to compete in their final Boston Marathon together, but because of the bombings they were unable to complete the race. They waited until 2014 and competed in the Boston Marathon, stopping many times during the 26.2 distance to thank fans and take pictures with well-wishers. They finished the race with several runners from their Hoyt Foundation Boston Marathon team.
Dick and Rick are also authors of two books that chronicle their journeys together. “Devoted – The Story of a Father’s Love” (Da Capo Press, 2010) and “One Letter at a Time” co-author Todd Civin (Mascot, 2012).
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