View Full Version : A Father's Love for his son

August 13th, 2006, 09:30 PM
A friend sent this to me. Some of you may have seen this, it's deep. Worth reading-watching.

A Father's Love for his son

But compared with Dick Hoyt ......

Eighty-five times he's pushed his disabled son, Rick, 26.2 miles in marathons. Eight times he's not only pushed him 26.2 miles in a wheelchair but also towed him 2.4 miles in a dinghy while swimming and pedaled him 112 miles in a seat on the handlebars--all in the same day.

Dick's also pulled him cross-country skiing, taken him on his back mountain climbing and once hauled him across the U.S. on a bike. Makes taking your son bowling look a little lame, right?

And what has Rick done for his father? Not much--except save his life.

This love story began in Winchester, Mass., 43 years ago, when Rick was strangled by the umbilical cord during birth, leaving him brain-damaged and unable to control his limbs.

``He'll be a vegetable the rest of his life;'' Dick says doctors told him and his wife, Judy, when Rick was nine months old. ``Put him in an institution.''

But the Hoyts weren't buying it. They noticed the way Rick's eyes followed them around the room. When Rick was 11 they took him to the engineering department at Tufts University and asked if there was anything to help the boy communicate. ``No way,'' Dick says he was told. ``There's nothing going on in his brain.''

"Tell him a joke,'' Dick countered. They did. Rick laughed. Turns out a lot was going on in his brain.

Rigged up with a computer that allowed him to control the cursor by touching a switch with the side of his head, Rick was finally able to communicate. First words? ``Go Bruins!'' And after a high school classmate was paralyzed in an accident and the school organized a charity run for him, Rick pecked out, ``Dad, I want to do that.''

Yeah, right. How was Dick, a self-described ``porker'' who never ran more than a mile at a time, going to push his son five miles? Still, he tried. ``Then it was me who was handicapped,'' Dick says. ``I was sore for two weeks.''

That day changed Rick's life. ``Dad,'' he typed, ``when we were running, it felt like I wasn't disabled anymore!''

And that sentence changed Dick's life. He became obsessed with giving Rick that feeling as often as he could. He got into such hard-belly shape that he and Rick were ready to try the 1979 Boston Marathon.

``No way,'' Dick was told by a race official. The Hoyts weren't quite a single runner, and they weren't quite a wheelchair competitor. For a few years Dick and Rick just joined the massive field and ran anyway, then they found a way to get into the race officially: In 1983 they ran another marathon so fast they made the qualifying time for Boston the following year.

Then somebody said, ``Hey, Dick, why not a triathlon?''

How's a guy who never learned to swim and hadn't ridden a bike since he was six going to haul his 110-pound kid through a triathlon? Still, Dick tried.

Now they've done 212 triathlons, including four grueling 15-hour Ironmans in Hawaii . It must be a buzzkill to be a 25-year-old stud getting passed by an old guy towing a grown man in a dinghy, don't you think?

Hey, Dick, why not see how you'd do on your own? ``No way,'' he says. Dick does it purely for ``the awesome feeling'' he gets seeing Rick with a cantaloupe smile as they run, swim and ride together.

This year, at ages 65 and 43, Dick and Rick finished their 24th Boston Marathon, in 5,083rd place out of more than 20,000 starters. Their best time'? Two hours, 40 minutes in 1992--only 35 minutes off the world record, which, in case you don't keep track of these things, happens to be held by a guy who was not pushing another man in a wheelchair at the time.

``No question about it,'' Rick types. ``My dad is the Father of the Century.''

And Dick got something else out of all this too. Two years ago he had a mild heart attack during a race. Doctors found that one of his arteries was 95% clogged. ``If you hadn't been in such great shape,'' one doctor told him, ``you probably would've died 15 years ago.''

So, in a way, Dick and Rick saved each other's life.

Rick, who has his own apartment (he gets home care) and works in Boston, and Dick, retired from the military and living in Holland, Mass., always find ways to be together. They give speeches around the country and compete in some backbreaking race every > weekend, including this Father's Day.

That night, Rick will buy his dad dinner, but the thing he really wants to give him is a gift he can never buy.

``The thing I'd most like,'' Rick types, ``is that my dad sit in the chair and I push him once.''

Here's the video...


August 15th, 2006, 09:18 PM
...the most amazing story and human fete of all time. I can never get enough of this inspiring tale. Thanks for the video.

August 16th, 2006, 01:05 PM
If this does'nt bring tears to your eyes - I don't know what would. This is the true meaning of unconditional love for a child.

August 22nd, 2006, 04:51 PM
This story has a very special meaning to me because my only son Neal suffers from a rare genetic defect.....in fact he needed a team of surgeons to try an experimental in-utero brain surgery while he was around 24 weeks gestation in order to survive birth....it was the very first surgery of its type ever preformed for my son's particular condition....(I pasted a link to a story about it below for anyone who may be interested....the degree of severity for his condition is not well explained in the article though). After he was eventually delivered (6 weeks premature and 10 weeks after the in utero surgery) he developed a severe case of meningitis while recovering in the NICU (this BTW is after the article was written in the link below)..... He spent 8 more weeks in the NICU recovering from it.....After Neal recovered from the meningitis, the NICU doctors told us the same thing they told Dick about his son Rick in the article at the beggining of this thread....which was that our son Neal would most likely never get passed suck swallow and breathe....he would most likely survive....but only as a vegetable. The complications of the meningitis (mainly due to scar tissue in the brain) then caused a series of serious side effects that led to 8 more major brain surgeries over the course of the next 2 years (some of these surgeries created major setbacks that we thought may have left him with no higher functioning whatsoever). He just had his seventh birthday a few months ago.....he is a very happy and well adjusted kid despite the fact that he is confined to a wheel chair and cannot coordinate any kind of comprehensable speech. He is learning some sign language though as well as how to use computer assisted communication devices. His IQ is considerably below the normal level for a normal 7 year old and he exhibits some mild autistic like characteristics. He has, however, made tremendous strides beyond the prognosis we were initially given by the NICU doctors (after his bout with meningitis that is)....and he is the absolute Joy of our lives!! I don't plan on doing any marathons and iron man triathalons like Dick and Rick have done......but I can relate to the kind of bond they have with one another.....I feel a similar type bond to Neal which is hard to explain exactly....Its been such a wild and strange ride so far....lots of ups and downs...but in the end I couldn't be more thankful for the way things have worked out for us.



August 24th, 2006, 01:57 PM
The Hoyts are an amazing team! I saw them once in the Philly Marathon--at the time, I didn't know the whole story. Takes a lot of dedication!

There's so much research being done on brain damage. I hope that Neal and Rick and others will benefit!

Sonic Swimmer78
September 14th, 2006, 01:09 PM
*sniff, sniff* That's the most beautiful thing I've ever read. Dick obvously loves his son so much, he'd go to the outer ends of this world to bring him joy.

I'm crying as I am typing this because I am both touched and and emotional guy myself and seeing that video makes me wish my dad and I had a relationship as superb as that.

God has definitely blessed Rick to have such an awesome father and give him a gift that money certainly cannot buy.

September 14th, 2006, 02:02 PM
It's an amazing story. I grew up in Newton, MA, just a couple of miles from the Boston Marathon course. Since it's a school holiday, we always went to watch. The Hoyts were always a part of that. There were always four things that got the crowd coing crazy:

* The men's leader
* The women's leader
* The Hoyts
* Johnny Kelly

You certainly couldn't leave until you saw all four. It was always amazing to see the Hoyts run by. Son Rick was always smiling. Dad wasn't always smiling as much on that section of the course... we're in the middle of Heartbreak Hill. :-)


September 15th, 2006, 11:03 AM
I had seen this story a few months back and it's probably the most incredible story, sports or otherwise, I have ever seen. I think my wife might have been sobbing during the segment.

September 15th, 2006, 11:41 AM
Thanks for sharing a piece of your life with us Jim. I am glad to hear that things are going better than expected. As a parent, I have often wondered how I would react to having a child with special needs and I can only hope that I would rise to the occassion as you have.

September 15th, 2006, 03:02 PM
Thanks for sharing a piece of your life with us Jim. I am glad to hear that things are going better than expected. As a parent, I have often wondered how I would react to having a child with special needs and I can only hope that I would rise to the occassion as you have.

originally posted by scyfreestyler

Your welcome. You would be suprised how quickly you can adapt to that kind of thing when you become confronted with it. We feel we have really been blessed to have Neal in our lives. I couldn't help but think of Neal when I first read the story of Dick and Rick.....I haven't planned on competing in any iron man competitions though like Dick and Rick.....I couldn't make it thru an entire iron man competition on my own...much less make it while also tugging a fully grown man along with me! Dick must be in astronomically good shape!!


September 15th, 2006, 03:07 PM
I truly believe that this story is tremendously important. But what about those of us who have had children we truly, deeply love, children we have done everything we could to get them in a different situation, but it doesn't work out?

September 15th, 2006, 03:07 PM
I truly believe that this story is tremendously important. But what about those of us who have had children we truly, deeply love, children we have done everything we could to get them in a different situation, but it doesn't work out?

September 15th, 2006, 03:10 PM
Jim, I admire how you love and care for your son. It takes a special kind of person to be able to do that and even find joy in the experience.

There was something on the news recently about the Hoyts. They ran the Rock and Roll Half Marathon in Virginia Beach. Amazing and inspiring. (I couldn't make it through a half marathon, much less an Ironman).

September 17th, 2006, 11:10 AM
thanks for the kind words sharkbait. I think most everyone I know would do the same thing that Susan and I are doing if they found themselves in the same circumstance as us......We ALL love our children regardless of whether or not they have handicapps... All children are equally special and deserve the same level of love from thier parents. Granted though that not all of us would necessarily attempt to do something like Dick has done with his son.....I think it is really great that he has brought the subject of raising and loving a handicapped child to the attention of the general public though with his incredible atheletic accomplishments. He is a true iron man thats for sure!!