As a parent, I've discovered a newfound admiration for this role – a role that demands relentless dedication and boundless love. Parenthood is, without a doubt, a tough gig. Every day, we show up, we put forth our best efforts, we give our all for our children. Of course, 'our best' cannot be objectively measured on a scale; it's deeply personal and based primarily on commitment and effort rather than a predefined outcome. I firmly believe this principle applies universally to all parents.
However, there are some parents who transcend the ordinary, those who rise to exceptional challenges, navigating life's extreme social, financial, and health circumstances with unwavering tenacity. One such example of extraordinary parenthood that I deeply admire is that of Dick Hoyt.
Most people have heard of or seen Team Hoyt in action; their feats have inspired people all around the world. Dick Hoyt pushed, pulled, and carried his son Rick, who was born with cerebral palsy, through hundreds of marathons and triathlons, including the Ironman World Championship.
For more than 40 years, until Dick was 73 and Rick was 52, they competed together, defying all odds. Dick pushed Rick in his wheelchair in over 1,000 races, including 32 Boston Marathons, and achieved a personal marathon best of 2:40 - while pushing an adult in a wheelchair. Let that sink in for a moment.
The duo became a symbol not only for physical endeavors, but also of inclusion and education, with Rick advocating for a world where individuals of all abilities could pursue their dreams without limits. To me, this is a powerful testament to the profound impact a parent's love can have.
I can only imagine the long hours of training, the shared struggle of endurance, and the collective triumph of crossing the finish line together that fostered an unparalleled connection between Dick and Rick. That connection was interrupted two years ago when Dick passed away at the age of 80. Now, perhaps not surprisingly, the connection is being reformed as Rick, at 61, recently passed away too.
It is my hope that "there is a place" after this human life where Dick and Rick can run together once again. Thank you, Dick and Rick Hoyt, for living lives filled with courage, resilience, and love.