Team Hoyt: Great Parents are Up to The Challenge

What’s the measure of a parent? Try watching this YouTube Google video titled, “Can,” without getting a lump in your throat. The footage is real, as aficionados of the Boston Marathon and other east coast races surely know.

At Rick Hoyt’s birth in 1962, his umbilical cord was coiled around his neck, depriving him of oxygen. Those first moments made him a “spastic quadriplegic, cerebral palsy, non-speaking person.” He was destined to never walk, talk or move in any significant manner. Doctors advised his 19 and 20-year-old parents to institutionalize their son for life. He would be a vegetable, they said, a total loss. Can you imagine?

Instead, Rick’s parents brought him home and treated him like a normal kid. They mainstreamed him. They fought to enroll him in public school, changing their state law in the process. They raised funds for a computer which let Rick type using slight head movements – his first words communicated were “Go Bruins.” Rick went on to graduate from Boston University and is now a technical consultant for adaptive technology being developed at Boston College.

At 15-years-old, Rick wanted to participate in a 5-mile benefit run, so his dad — who was 40-years-old and used to running 1 mile three times a week — pushed him in a wheelchair through the race. More than 900 races later, including 206 triathalons and their 25th Boston Marathon this year, Rick is still competing with his 66-year-old dad Dick Hoyt. Dad even had a heart attack in 2003 and he’s still going. They compete in about 40 races per year.

In a triathlon, Rick is pushed in a stroller-like vehicle, pedaled in a specially designed two-seat bicycle and towed in an inflatable raft. What is Dad’s inspiration? After that first race at the age of 15, Rick told his dad he didn’t feel disabled when they competed.

“What drives us? What motivates us to do this grueling race [the Boston Marathon] and others like it? If people who watch us compete can just begin to understand that the disabled are normal, that we have rich productive lives, that’s all I ask. That’s my prize.” -Rick Hoyt from ‘Rick’s Eyes on the Prize’

Here is more background about the Hoyts:

I’d like to know… when will this story be made into a movie, and who will play this amazing duo?

The YouTube link was found via the Journeying…By Grace Alone blog. Biographical information about Team Hoyt was obtained from the team’s web site and the documentary Rick’s Eyes on the Prize.)


9 Responses to “Team Hoyt: Great Parents are Up to The Challenge”

  1. Rachel K. says:

    That has to be one of the most beautifully touching and amazing videos I’ve ever seen. Thank you for sharing it…

    August 17th, 2006 at 9:58 am

  2. dawn hort says:

    I’d love to see the video again and have e copy to share with my friends. Where can I get it?

    August 30th, 2006 at 3:52 pm

  3. AJ says:

    Oh nuts, the user removed the movie. I’ve relinked an active one. If a later reader discovers the movie is missing again, leave a comment and I’ll hunt it down.

    August 30th, 2006 at 4:04 pm

  4. kelly says:

    great video, where can I get a copy of this video to share at my church group?

    October 16th, 2006 at 12:24 pm

  5. Mahala Anderson says:

    I am a counselor at a middle school in Oregon. I would like to show the YOUTUBE video to our students, however our internet service provide for the school districts blocks all YOUTUBE videos. Is there any other way that I can access the CAN video for our students?

    October 24th, 2006 at 12:16 pm

  6. AJ says:

    Is Google Video blocked? Try this link to the music video:

    October 24th, 2006 at 12:29 pm

  7. Denise says:

    I’ve seen this video three times, and as a mom it makes me teary eyed every time. I can only hope that I can be all that and more to my daughter. Bravo.

    March 5th, 2007 at 1:55 pm

  8. steven dubner says:

    I loved the video, where I can buy the dvd rick’s eyes on the prize? thank you, steven

    January 16th, 2008 at 9:13 am

  9. Julia says:

    Not to be picky, but if the dad was 20 years old when his son was born, when his son was 15 years old, that would make the dad 35, not 40.

    November 18th, 2009 at 8:21 am