Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Devoted by Dick Hoyt - A Book Review
I first met Dick and Rick Hoyt at the Hyannis Marathon Race Expo in February of 2009. I shared my story with them and thought I knew their story - that is until I read "Devoted". At this year's Hyannis Race Expo, I decided to buy the book but it wasn't until a few weeks ago that I felt moved to take it off of my coffee table and read it. I don't want this blog to be a spoiler for the book about all the things I did not know about Dick and Rick's journey but I will share with you how Devoted has touched my heart and soul.
When you meet Dick and Rick, they are 'regular guys'. Although I haven't been with Rick when he has had his communication device, you can see his eyes are alive and aware following all that is happening around him. It was that spark that Dick and his wife Judy saw that kept them from institutionalizing their son despite the doctors' prediction that Rick would never amount to anything more than 'being a vegetable.'
Devoted is a love story. It is the love of a father for his son; a mother's fierce advocacy and unrelenting pursuit of justice and fairness not just for her son but for children with disabilities, and the love of a family. It is a story of love from the heart of one person who faced his own challenges to make a difference in the life of a classmate. It is a story of how love transforms and is infectious. It is how love drives and motivates Dick to not take no for an answer and have doors opened in the racing community not only for his son but for runners across the globe.
Dick and Rick became an 'overnight internet sensation' in 2006 after a You Tube video about Dick and Rick's 1999 Hawaii Ironman triathlon was set to the song My Redeemer Lives. I found one of the more recent You Tube videos which adds in the words CAN which Rick types out using his adaptive communications technology.
As I read Devoted, the grace and love of Dick and Judy as parents unconditional love for their child I found myself feeling transformed and blessed by their journey. Although my parents were unable to advocate and care for me as a disabled child, it brings me such joy and hope and redemption that Dick and Rick are now role models for anyone facing a disability. They transformed individuals, the world of racing, the lives of people across the globe with their inspirational message Yes You Can. I wear their dog tag when I race as a constant reminder that no matter what the challenge, the human spirit and the love of the world's family can leave all those challenges and obstacles n the dust.
Run don't walk to get your copy of Devoted. Be sure to have a good supply of tissues on hand. My life has been so blessed to know Dick, Rick and Kathy Boyer, Dick's office manager and girlfriend. I know that I will continue to run and race for as long as I am able because despite any diagnosis, I know that I CAN! To quote Rick, "appearances are deceiving".
God bless, be well and know that Yes You Can
From my heart to yours with love and gratitude,