HOLLAND, Mass. (WWLP) – Rick and Dick Hoyt have run dozens of marathons and triathalons around the world since the 1970’s.
Over the years, they’ve competed in more than 1,100 endurance events and established Team Hoyt, inspiring other families with children with disabilities.
Rick, who is now 57, has cerebral palsy and was born without the use of his arms or legs and is unable to speak.
Dick Hoyt and his wife rejected a doctor’s suggestion that Rick be placed in an institution. “We said ‘No, we’re not going to put Rick away’. We’re going to bring Rick up like any other child. And that’s what we did.”
And that was when Team Hoyt launched the concept of “disability inclusion.”
Eric and Patricia Heine came to Dick’s home town of Holland from Oklahoma City with their son Steven to compete in Saturday’s 10th annual Hoytapalooza 5K Road Race, an event which gathers families representing Team Hoyt chapters from across the country.
Eric told 22News what Dick and Rick Hoyt have meant to his family. “The Hoyts are the pioneers of this whole recent idea. Without Dick and Rick’s courage and perseverance, we wouldn’t be able to do the things we are able to do right now.”
They’re celebrating the Hoyts’ determination to treat their children like every other child.