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Yes! You Can

January 10, 2012 4 comments

There are three kinds of stories in the world. The ones that make you laugh, but these last the least. We forget them as quickly as we read them. Then there are those that make you smile. We pass these on to friends and kin, to spread the smile around. But once in a while, you would come across a story that would make even the most stony-eyes brim with tears. These are the stories that would cling on to your soul and remain there, till the time you close your eyes for one last time. The effect of these stories is exemplified when they are stories of people who live around us and lead lives similar to us. Stories from real life.They make you see world in a new light and force you to think. These stories will lend us an experience so profound that it may alter the way you want to lead the rest of your life.

The Story of Hoyt Pair is one such story that I came across by pure accident but it makes me heavy every time I read it. But it is a story of story of hope, courage and to working real hard for what you believe and most importantly love. I want you to read it, to experience emotional euphoria it brings along with it.

Watch the video and then go on to read the story behind it..

Rick was once asked, if he could give his father one thing, what would it be? Rick responded, “The thing I’d most like is for my dad to sit in the chair and I would push him for once.”

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It was Winchester, Massachusetts, 1962, an unruly umbilical cord wrapped around the neck of an unborn child; chocking him off vital oxygen became the first struggle of life for Rick Hoyt. Against all odds of survival Rick made it to this world. The lack of vital oxygen for those precious moments before birth had left permanent scars on his neonatal brain, rendering him incapable of leading life as we see it.

The doctors told Ricks parents, Dick and Judy Hoyt, that the brain damage is permanent and Rick would be a in a vegetative state for the rest of his life. They recommend that Rick be institutionalized, for there was no hope of recovery and no chance for him to lead a normal life. Dick Hoyt was in no mood to accept the doctor’s prognosis and this started the beginning of Dick and Judy’s quest for Rick’s inclusion in community, sports, education and one day, the workplace.

There was something about Rick’s ability to fight, in the ensuing years he was able to communicate to his parents with his expressive eyes and Dick and Judy did their very best trying to provide him education. Rick was able to learn basic words and alphabets. But with the aim to integrate Rick in to public school system, Dick and Judy had to prove Rick’s intellect and a way for Rick to communicate on his own.

Rick finally received a way to express himself in 1972, thanks to a skilled group of engineers at Tufts University and an interactive computer. This computer consisted of a cursor being used to highlight every letter of the alphabet. Once the letter Rick wanted was highlighted, he was able to select it by just a simple tap with his head against a head piece attached to his wheelchair.

Rick surprised everyone with his first words. Instead of saying, “Hi, Mom,” or “Hi, Dad,” Rick’s first “spoken” words were: “Go, Bruins!” The Boston Bruins were in the Stanley Cup finals that season. It was clear from that moment on, that Rick loved sports and followed the game just like anyone else.

This is not a story of Rick as it sounds until now. It is story of Rick and his dad and it all started In the spring of 1977 about 2 years after Rick started public school one of his classmates was paralyzed in an accident and a five mile benefit run was being organized. That night Rick told his father “Dad, I want to do that”

For Dick, who never ran a mile in length, running with his son in the wheelchair was a challenge. Still, he tried. He agreed to push his son all the five miles; they came next to the last but still managed to finish the race. But what changed Dick’s life forever were a simple set of words that made a whole lot of difference for him

That Night Rick said, “Dad, when I’m running, it feels like I’m not handicapped.”

That sentence marked the beginning of a father son phenomenon, and a beginning of what would become over 1,000 races completed, including marathons, duathlons and triathlons (6 of them being Iron-man competitions). Also adding to their list of achievements, Dick and Rick biked and ran across the U.S. in 1992, completing a full 3,735 miles in 45 days. They are now popularly known as Team Hoyt.

After high school, Rick attended Boston University, and he graduated with a degree in Special Education in 1993. Dick retired in 1995 as a Lt. Colonel from the Air National Guard, after serving his country for 37 years and they have been running marathon after all these years. In 2009 Boston Marathon was officially Team Hoyt’s 1000th race and Dick is 70 in 2011 and they are still running. They continue to tour across the country and address a varied audience to deliver one message Yes! You Can.

This is a story of hope, courage and to work hard for what you believe in.

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