“He’ll never be more than a vegetable. Put him in an institution”
These were the words spoken to Rick Hoyt’s parents by several doctors after the birth of their son in 1962. The umbilical cord had become twisted around Rick’s neck at birth, causing a blockage of oxygen flow, resulting in cerebral palsy, making the brain unable to communicate to the muscles.
An institution seemed the logical solution, but Rick’s parents noticed that his eyes followed them around the room. Surely this meant something? They took Rick to the Children’s Hospital in Boston where a doctor encouraged them to treat Rick as normal.
Rick’s mother spent hours each day teaching Rick the alphabet using sandpaper letters and posting signs on every object in the house. In a short amount of time, Rick learned the alphabet. At 11 years old, his parents’ persistence enabled Rick to be fitted with a computer which enabled him to communicate. It soon became clear that Rick was intelligent even though he couldn’t walk or talk. He attended public school and went on to graduate from Boston University in 1993 with a degree in special education.
When Rick was 15 he was inspired by an article on racing
he saw in a magazine and Team Hoyt was born.
Rick’s father Dick was then 37 years old and was not a runner, but he was inspired when, after their first race, with Dick pushing Rick in a wheelchair, Rick communicated via his computer, “Dad, when I’m running, it feels like I’m not handicapped.” Then Dick began running every day with a bag of cement in the wheelchair because Rick was at school studying, unable to train with him.
The father and son combination competed in
more than a thousand endurance events,
including 68 marathons
and six Ironman triathlons.
* They ran the Boston Marathon 26 times.*
They also competed in triathlons
with Rick sitting in a boat for the swim portion,
and Dick pulling him in the boat
with a rope attached to his body.
For the cycle portion of the triathlon,
Rick rides in a specially designed tandem bike.
Dick and Rick have also biked and run across the U.S. Dick’s also pulled him cross-country skiing and taken him on his back Mountain climbing.
We marvel at a father’s love for his son and his commitment to him.
Just think of what would have become of Rick had he been left in an institution. He now lives a valuable life, using his talents to teach in handicapped education.
I MARVEL AT THE LOVE OF MY HEAVENLY FATHER
AND HIS COMMITMENT TO ME
I hate to think of what would have become of me
had I been left in the institution of the world, under the power of the devil,
going his way, with no power of resistance.
My loving heavenly Father,
even though I had no thought for Him,
in His mercy and love, made me alive in Christ.
He translated me OUT OF THE INSTITUTION OF DARKNESS
and placed me into His kingdom [Colossians 1:13]
adopting me into His own family
and making me a joint heir with Christ. [Romans 8:15-17]
(What an amazing God!)
I WAS HOPELESS BUT HE BECAME MY TOTAL STRENGTH
For the last 53 of my 75 years He pulled me and pushed me and carried me through many trials and even ‘marathons’. He has been my Guide, my Instructor, my Challenger, my Corrector, my Encourager, my Refuge,
my Rock . . . my Everything.
I am totally dependent on my heavenly Father, and yet He allows me to accomplish the ‘impossible’ as He works in me and through me to achieve in His service.
What more can I say, other than
“What an amazing Father God!”