Dick and Judy Hoyt had a little baby boy, and it was always their dream to have a little boy, but something turned tragic at birth. Their little baby, Rick, was strangled by the umbilical cord at birth, and it left him brain damaged. He couldn’t control any of his limbs. Doctors told them that he would be a vegetable for the rest of his life, and they should put him in an institution. But the Hoyts weren’t having it. They weren’t listening to the doctors because they were saying, “We believe that there is something there.” They would notice his eyes following them as they walked across the room.
When he was 11 years old, Dick and Judy took their little boy Rick to Tufts University computer science lab and asked if there was any way they could develop something that would help Rick communicate with them. They said, “Well, there is not anything going on in his brain. There is no way we can do anything like that.” His parents said, “Well, tell him a joke and you’ll see.” One of the scientists said a joke, and Rick smiled real big. So they said, “We’ll do what we can.” They came up with this computer where Rick could actually touch the pads on the side of his wheelchair, and it would type. There was a lot going on inside of his head. He began to communicate.
One of the first things he communicated to his dad was that he wanted his dad to push him in a wheel chair in a 5-mile fun run for the disabled. He said that would forever change both of their lives because after that run, Rick communicated to his dad that when he ran, he didn’t feel like he was disabled for the first time in his life. That motivated Dick Hoyt, and it has motivated him ever since.
Now Dick Hoyt has pushed his son 82 times 26.2 miles in marathons. They even ran the Boston Marathon, the first two person team that they ever allowed to enter, but it’s because Dick qualified, and they couldn’t do anything about it. He got in. He has trekked his son all the way across the country on a bicycle thousands of miles. He’s also, eight times, done triathlons where he swims with him in a dingy 2.4 miles, then he rides with him on a bike 112 miles, and then he runs 26.2 miles pushing him in a wheelchair. They’ve done that eight times. Together they run. Dick is the body, and Rick is the heart and soul. His dad says, “I’ll never race without him. We’re a team. We have to be together.” Together they run. Just watch:
Don’t run alone. There is power in together. I have to admit, when I watch that, and I see him swimming with that dingy and all that he’s going through, can you imagine what it would be like to be a 25-year-old who has been training for a triathlon for a long time, and you are out there swimming, and you get passed by a 65-year-old man pulling a 140 pound man in a dingy? How depressing. But that’s the power of together. Don’t run alone. The Christian life is not to be lived alone. You have to connect.