Every day each of us has an opportunity to give up, to quit, to walk away. Rick Hoyt had his first chance the day he was born. Doctors diagnosed Rick with a severe case of cerebral palsy and told his parents he’d probably never participate in mainstream society.
The Hoyts had to make a decision. They could give up on their dreams of a meaningful life with their son and for him, or they could give him a chance to experience a fulfilling life.
A chance at life
The Hoyts decided to give him a chance. They included him in all their family activities including camping, cross-country skiing and swimming at the beach. They enrolled him in public school and watched him not only graduate from high school but go on to graduate from Boston University, in spite of his inability to speak or use his arms and legs.
While in college, Rick attended a basketball game where they announced a charity run to raise funds for a lacrosse player that had been paralyzed. In a moment when other people in his situation might have felt inferior, Rick was inspired. He wanted to send a message of hope to the player. A message that life goes on even though you’re paralyzed.
Rick convinced his then reluctant father to run in the race with him and the pair started a journey that has endured more than 30 years.
Rick is now 51 and his father is 72. As a team, they’ve participated in 1100 events, including marathons, 5K runs, Ironman events and other triathlons. Their achievements include 13 finishes in the Boston Marathon.
For their achievement and inspiration, the pair will be honored this month with a life-sized bronze statue at the starting line of the 2013 Boston Marathon.
On his birthday 51 years ago, the Hoyts probably never imagined what their son would achieve. They just wanted to give him a chance. They took the first step. Each day was one more step in the journey. As a result, he and his father have inspired and challenged countless numbers of people.
But even if you don’t have a major handicap, you will face challenges every day. Each time you confront a challenge you have to decide whether you will quit or go on.
The next time you feel like quitting something, don’t think about the end of the race, just think about the next step. Then put one foot
in front of the other and take one more step. Every marathon is won, one step at a time.
So what’s your excuse?
Feeling sorry for yourself. Take another step. Too tired? Take another step.
Then repeat the process indefinitely. You can accomplish anything if you won’t give up. But you’re guaranteed to fail anything you quit.
Watch Rick’s Story
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