Earlier this month our Flag for Hope group had the unique opportunity to meet the inspiring father & son team, Rick and Dick of Team Hoyt. They were happy to appear with us in Hopkinton by the starting line of the Boston Marathon (which they have run 32 times!). We were honored to celebrate the accomplishments of this amazing family, right outside Center School in Hopkinton, MA where Rick and his father are immortalized in bronze.
Rick Hoyt was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth when his umbilical cord became wrapped around his neck. His parents were given the advice to immediately put him in an institution, as their son would be in a mostly vegetative state. The Hoyts refused to accept this bleak and hopeless outlook. They knew that their son was present and alive; his eyes would follow them around the room, giving them hope that there was a chance he would be able to communicate someday
Rick’s parents worked diligently with him everyday until finally, when he was eleven, he was given a computer that allowed him to speak. That day, the Hoyts were vindicated. Not only did they learn that their son could communicate, but he was also intelligent.
In 1977, one of Rick’s friends became paralyzed. Having spent his whole life in a chair, Rick understood the pain his friend was feeling and wanted to inspire him by demonstrating that life with a disability is not the end of the race. Rick implored his father, then 36 and not a runner, to run a marathon together. Dick, demonstrating the true love of a parent, began training and the two completed their first marathon. After that first race, Rick told his father that when they ran together, he no longer felt handicapped at all.
Dick Hoyt knew then what he needed to do.
Rick’s father began running everyday with a bag of cement in a wheelchair while Rick was at school. He dedicated himself to becoming a runner and an athlete—anything to give his son that same feeling of freedom again and again. As of April 2014, the pair have run 72 marathons, six ironman triathlons, and competed in 1,030 other endurance events.
We could not be prouder to include the impressions of the Hoyt family on our Flag. Truly, their accomplishments in the face of adversity represent the amazing power of hope. They demonstrate what humanity can accomplish when they live for, work for, and love one another unconditionally.