Statue of Dick and Rick Hoyt to be unveiled on April 8

rickanddickRick has cerebral palsy, but that won’t stop him or his 73 year old father from running their 31st Boston Marathon together as a team. 

Rick was diagnosed as a spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy at his birth in 1962. His parents, Dick and Judy, were advised to institutionalize Rick because there was no chance of him recovering or living a normal life. 

Dick and Judy realized although Rick couldn’t walk or talk he was intelligent and needed to find a way to help Rick communicate. With $5,000 in 1972 a group of engineers at Tufts University developed an interactive computer which Rick used to communicate by tapping his head against a head piece , highlighting letters to ‘speak.’ When the computer was brought home Rick’s was first words were “Go Bruins!”

In the spring of 1977, Rick told his father about a 5k fundraiser he wanted to participate in; a Lacrosse player from Westfield State College had been paralyzed from the neck down during a game. Rick wanted to run the race, he wanted the Lacrosse player to know life goes on, don’t give up.

Dick was far from being a long-distance runner, he ran a mile a few times a week to keep in shape but that was it. He agreed to push Rick in his wheelchair, which was at the time difficult to push let alone run with. Dick didn’t think he would be able to finish the race, but they did, they finished next to last. That night, Rick told his father, “Dad, when I’m running, it feels like I’m not handicapped.”

Rick and Dick have raced in over 1,000 races, including marathons, duathlons and triathlons. Dick pulled Rick in a boat by attaching a bungee cord around his waist for the swimming stage and for the biking stage they use a special two-seat bicycle. The 2009 Boston Marathon was their 1000th race. 

In a fathers day letter Rick wrote about what he would do if he wasn’t disable ” I’d tell my father to sit down in my wheelchair so I could push him. If it weren’t for him, I’d probably be living in a home for people with disabilities. He is not just my arms and legs. He’s my inspiration, the person who allows me to live my life to the fullest and inspire others to do the same.”

The life-size bronze statue of Dick and Rick Hoyt will be unveiled April 8 at 10:30 a.m.in front of the Hopkinton Center Elementary School, near the starting point of the Boston Marathon. A scale model of the statue has been on display at the Hopkinton Public Library.

rickanddick

About Jennifer Doyle

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