Information for Parents of Children with Cerebral Palsy

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Man, son with cerebral palsy, go the distance to prove it can be done

By: Vickie L. Friedman

"Rick Hoyt can't walk or talk, but he can run.

As part of Team Hoyt, Rick and his father, Dick, have completed more than 900 endurance events internationally. Among them: 65 marathons, eight Ironman triathlons and 79 half marathons. The two will pair up for their next half marathon Sunday in the Virginia Beach Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon.

The 44-year-old Rick Hoyt was born with cerebal palsy and is able to voluntarily move only his head and at times, slightly, his knees. Dick Hoyt, 66, pushes Rick's wheelchair in every race.

With wind blowing in his face and sun warming his skin, his affliction is just an afterthought for Rick. It has been that way since he came home from school as a 15-year-old and persuaded his dad to run a 5-mile road race to benefit a local paralyzed lacrosse athlete.

Rick's smile was broad that 1977 afternoon when father and son crossed the finish line, and on the specially made computer that he uses to communicate, he typed out these words: "Dad, when I'm running, it feels like I'm not handicapped."

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