Team Hoyt was started by Rick and his father, Dick in the spring of 1977. The father and son embarked on a 5 mile race which was in aid of Rick’s fellow student who had become paralyzed after being involved in an accident. Rick having spent his entire life in a wheelchair, wanted to prove to the world that life went on, no matter the challenges.
The Life of Rich Hoyt
He was born on 10th January 1962 to Dick Hoyt and his wife Judy. Due to complications around his birth, he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy after the umbilical cord twisted around his neck, blocking the flow of oxygen to the brain. His parents were determined to give him a normal life, even after being advised to put Rick in an institutional care. Their determination only grew stronger after realizing that their son would follow them with his eyes as they moved around the house. This realization renewed the hope of Rick being able to communicate some day.
Through the love of his parent, Rick would become an intelligent child. He learnt the alphabets from his mother who dedicated most of his time teaching him with the sandpaper letters. They would later help him out with his social life by teaching him how to swim and frequently taking him out swimming or sledding.
He would not miss the opportunity to attend school. After celebrating his 11th birthday, Rick was finally able to communicate and attend public school. This was made possible by a custom made computer by Tufts University engineers, which his parents bought for him.
When college life came, Rick would go to Boston University, where he graduated with a degree in special programs in 1993. He was determined to see that everybody had a chance to communicate and lead a good life, the physical challenges notwithstanding. This saw Rick working in a computer lab in Boston College where he was tasked with developing systems to help those with physical challenges communicate. In 1995 rick retired from the Air National Guard having attained the ranks of Lt. Colonel.
The birth of Team Holt
The first thing that Rick parents realized after Rich was able to use the computer was his love for sports. It was clear that all along Rick was aware of all that was going on around him. One thing he was following was the ongoing Stanley Cup, the very first words he wrote was to cheer his favorite team, The Bruins, which was advancing to the finals of the Stanley Cup.
After Rick expressed his interest to participate in the race held in aid of the lacrosse player who was his school mate, his father did not discourage him, but instead supported him by pushing him all the way to the finish line of the 5 mile race. This was the beginning of the many sporting achievements shared by father and son. At the age of 36, Dick started his running career after being motivated by his son a great deal. He would practice with a wheelchair carrying a bag of cement when his son was at school, improving both his stamina and personal record.
The Holts have participated in many events. 1,108 was the total number of events they had completed as of April 2014. Among the completed events, 72 include marathons and 62 ironman triathlon. They are a darling of the people of Massachusetts who know them too well, having participated 32 times in the Boston marathon. Biking and racing across U.S for 3,735 miles in 45 days in 1992, is also part of their many achievements.
Even when the act of terror denied them the chance to finish the 2013 Boston Marathon, after the race was stopped due to an explosion near the finish line, Dick and Rick are just unstoppable. They were back in 2014 and completed the race.
Where there is a will there is a way. And for Team Hoyt the pace may be slow now that age has kicked in, but no stopping. Not yet!