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Friday, July 21, 2006

I wish I had a picture....


On my website I have a section called 'Davina' (you can get there by clicking on 'information'). There are moments from my life that have been printed in my memories that I wish I had in the form of a picture.

Today a friend of mine told me an incredibly moving story about a father and a son. To me it was just like the memories in my mind. This dad has to have a picture in his mind of the day the doctors told him that his son would never have brain activity. Now he has pictures of the days he has saved his son's life

...and the days his son saved his life.

The Story:

Strongest Dad in the World
[From Sports Illustrated, By Rick Reilly]

Eighty-five times he's pushed his disabled son, Rick,
26.2 miles in marathons. Eight times he's not only
pushed him 26.2 miles in a wheelchair but also towed
him 2.4 miles in a dinghy while swimming and pedaled
him 112 miles in a seat on the handlebars--all in the
same day.

This love story began in Winchester, Mass., 43 years
ago, when Rick was strangled by the umbilical cord
during birth, leaving him brain-damaged and unable to
control his limbs.

``He'll be a vegetable the rest of his life;'' Dick
says doctors told him and his wife, Judy, when Rick
was nine months old. ``Put him in an institution.''

But the Hoyts weren't buying it. They noticed the way
Rick's eyes followed them around the room. When Rick
was 11 they took him to the engineering department at
Tufts University and asked if there was anything to
help the boy communicate. ``No way,'' Dick says he was
told. ``There's nothing going on in his brain.''

``Tell him a joke,'' Dick countered. They did. Rick
laughed. Turns out a lot was going on in his brain.

Rigged up with a computer that allowed him to control
the cursor by touching a switch with the side of his
head, Rick was finally able to communicate. First
words? ``Go Bruins!'' And after a high school
classmate was paralyzed in an accident and the school
organized a charity run for him, Rick pecked out,
``Dad, I want to do that.''

Yeah, right. How was Dick, a self-described ``porker''
who never ran more than a mile at a time, going to
push his son five miles? Still, he tried. ``Then it
was me who was handicapped,'' Dick says. ``I was sore
for two weeks.''

That day changed Rick's life. ``Dad,'' he typed,
``when we were running, it felt like I wasn't disabled

And that sentence changed Dick's life. He became
obsessed with giving Rick that feeling as often as he

Now they've done 212 triathlons, including four
grueling 15-hour Ironmans in Hawaii.

This year, at ages 65 and 43, Dick and Rick finished
their 24th Boston Marathon, in 5,083rd place out of
more than 20,000 starters.

``No question about it,'' Rick types. ``My dad is the
Father of the Century.''

Rick, who has his own apartment (he gets home care)
and works in Boston, and Dick, retired from the
military and living in Holland, Mass., always find
ways to be together. They give speeches around the
country and compete in some backbreaking race every
weekend, including this Father's Day.

That night, Rick will buy his dad dinner, but the
thing he really wants to give him is a gift he can
never buy.

``The thing I'd most like,'' Rick types, ``is that my
dad sit in the chair and I push him once.''

What do you wish you had a picture of?


At Saturday, 22 July, 2006, Blogger climbergal said...

Hi Davina,

Team Hoyt is probably one of my top inspirations for being in photography amongst a few others. I'm glad you posted this because Dad and Son are so incredible. I have several photos in my collection of Rick smiling with Dick pulling him in tow and of Rick being transitioned from the swim to start the bike with Dad. They are incredible (not the photos), but the Hoyts! If you are ever in San Diego in October, the Challenged Athletes Foundation puts on an annual event called the San Diego Triathlete Challenge. It's a half ironman distance of physically challenged athletes and non-physically challenged athletes participating. The Hoyts are here every year to help out and race. They and many of the other athletes will inspire you beyond your imagination!

At Sunday, 23 July, 2006, Blogger Brody said...

Thank you so much for sharing such an amazing story with us. j


At Sunday, 23 July, 2006, Blogger Dustin Izatt said...

Wow Davina, what an incredible story. I have never cried so hard in my life. I am sitting here typing through tear stained cheeks. That was very moving. Thank you for sharing it with us all.

At Sunday, 23 July, 2006, Blogger LuckyRedHen said...

Your moments & photos listed in the 'Davina' section made me cry! Everything you listed is TRUE and we all need to be better about capturing LIFE :o) Thanks for inspiring us to record special moments. YOU are one of MY heros!!!

At Monday, 24 July, 2006, Anonymous Alissa said...

thank you so much for bringing this truly amazing story of love and selflessness to my attention. what an amazing father.

At Monday, 24 July, 2006, Blogger gumbee said...

It's not everyday that one gets to hear a story like this. It is truly amazing and I thank you for sharing it with us. I was sitting here bored, on a regular ole Monday morning. I had no feeling except boredom. Then I read your story, and it made me feel good. Thank you again. :)

At Wednesday, 26 July, 2006, Blogger Davina said...

I was totally moved by these men and their amazing story. I'm so glad that it had the same effect on all of you.
Some day I hope I get to meet you all!


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