Remembering Dick Hoyt: Athlete, Philanthropist and Hero To the Cerebral Palsy Community

As Boston mourns the death of a regional celebrity, we at Sokolove Law take time to remember Dick Hoyt, who passed away March 17 at the age of 80.

Dick was well known by Bostonians for his determination to run 32 Boston Marathons with his son, Rick. What made this father-son duo special was that, during competition, Dick would push Rick in a special wheelchair as they ran.

Rick, who turned 59 in January, has cerebral palsy — but neither he nor his father let his disability define them.

The Hoyt Story

Dick and his son embodied what it meant to be a Patriot, approaching challenges with the grit and determination of true New Englanders. A statue of the pair stands tall near the starting line of the Boston Marathon to inspire runners and passersby alike and remind us that we can do anything.

The pair made history in 1977 when they finished their first Boston Marathon together. They'd go on to race in marathons and Ironman Triathlons alike. They completed 275 triathlons in total. Dick and Rick became a fixture in the Boston community and will be sorely missed as a duo.

Father-Son Duo, Cerebral Palsy Advocates

Dick championed the special needs community. Seeing Rick, a quadriplegic, cross the finish line with his father gave hope to many far and wide. Dick Hoyt would often say of racing with his disabled son: “Rick is the heart and I am the body.”

When Rick was in high school, he told his father he wanted to participate in a benefit race to raise money for a fellow classmate who had been injured in a diving accident. Dick, being the beloved father that he was, would do anything to bring his son joy. Thus, their racing career began. Together, they showed us all that you can do anything that you put your mind to. They embodied the true definition of "Boston Strong."

The Hoyt story inspires us all to be better for ourselves, our loved ones, and our community. Cerebral palsy or any disability does not define an individual. We can all find strength and meaning in ourselves no matter what challenges we must face.

Providing Cerebral Palsy Support

While there is no cure for cerebral palsy, together we can work to prevent the instances caused by birth injuries due to medical malpractice. At Sokolove Law, we advocate for victims of medical malpractice and support the larger cerebral palsy community.

Disabilities don’t have to hold anyone back from their dreams — Dick and Rick Hoyt are proof of that. Dick was an inspiration to many, including those of us here at Sokolove Law, where we'll continue to give voice to those seeking justice and help the special needs community move forward into a more accepting world.

Sokolove Law Team

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Last modified: April 14, 2021