More Amazing Creations: http://www.7amazingcreations.com/ Amazing Dad: Dick Hoyt
Amazing Dad: Dick Hoyt, who, through Team Hoyt, competes in marathons with his disabled son, inspiring others with disabilities to follow in their footsteps
Dick, 70, describes himself as a "porker" who rarely got off the couch when he started racing in his late 30s. Rick was a teenager then, a quadriplegic with cerebral palsy. He was never supposed to live outside an institution, let alone be running races with his father.
The boy communicated through a computer device that enabled him to form sentences one letter a time. This is how he managed to peck out, "Dad, I want to do that" when he heard about a charity run for a classmate who had become paralyzed in an accident in 1977.
Dick pushed Rick's wheelchair all the way. "We were the first people in the world to ever do that," Dick tells ParentDish. They have been competing ever since and their passion has taken them to Japan and Canada and they even met President Ronald Reagan.
"When he started competing, a lot of people tried to say we shouldn't be there," Dick says. "They tried to find ways to keep us out. But now families across the country are doing what we're doing."
For some three decades, Team Hoyt has competed in more than 1,000 events -- including the Boston Marathon and Ironman Triathlon. They've never finished last. "In fact, Rick is the first disabled athlete to finish the Ironman Triathlon," the devoted dad says. "Because of him, the event now has a category for physically challenged athletes."
In 2006, the Boston Athletic Association awarded the Hoyts the Patriots' Award, honoring inspirational New Englanders.
The Hoyts have never been ones to give up.
"We have a motto in our family: 'Yes, you can.' There's no such word as 'can't' in the Hoyt family vocabulary," Dick says.
When Rick was born in 1962, Dick was told his son would be a mental vegetable best filed away in an institution. He would have no comprehension of the world around him, doctors said.
Dick, a retired lieutenant colonel in the Massachusetts Air National Guard, refused to agree. "No," he recalls saying. "We're not going to do that. We're going to bring Rick home and bring him up like any other child."
When he was 11, Rick was taken to Tufts University, where engineers there were skeptical about about his ability to communicate. But Dick asked them to tell his son a joke. When Rick laughed in his wheelchair, Tufts engineers created a communication device.
Rick's first words? According to his father, they were, "Go Bruins."
Now 48, Rick and his father are the founders of the Hoyt Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps other disabled people and their families discover what Hoyts did through competition.
"He motivates me. If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be out there," Dick says. "What I'm doing is loaning Rick my arms and legs so he can be out there competing like everybody else."
Dick's Son Rick Says: On the Team Hoyt website, Rick says: "My dad is the father of the century. The thing I'd most like is that my dad sit in the chair and I push him once."
Recognition: The Boston Athletic Association 2006 Patriots' Award
Dick's Guilty Pleasure: "Guilty pleasure? Wow. You stumped me. I honestly can't think of any."
Dick's Best Advice: "You never want to give up."More Photos: http://www.7amazingcreations.com/amazing-dad/If you think Dick is the best father, share then>