American Icon: Team Hoyt

What is love?

At American Sunglass, we think that love looks like this: a father running with his quadriplegic son in more than 1,100 races, from 5Ks to marathons to triathlons. That father, Dick Hoyt, started the endeavor in the spring of 1977 when he and his 15-year-old son Rick ran a 5-mile benefit a local lacrosse player who had been paralyzed in an accident.

With those first steps the pair showed the world what the bond between a father and his child means. And they showed the world what love is.

The Hoyts are synonymous with one of the greatest races in the world – the Boston Marathon - having run 32 of them, the last in 2014, the year after the horrific bombings forced them to stop before crossing the finish line.

Their story is one that began with heartache when Rick was born with cerebral palsy, unable to walk or talk. Despite those difficulties, his parents fought to make life as normal as possible for their son which included the races.

Running gave the son something he had never felt before. Following that first race in 1977, Rick typed to Dick on the computer, telling him, “Dad, when I run, it feels like my disability disappears.”

And so began four decades worth of races, father pushing son; son inspiring father. They became known as Team Hoyt, but they were more than a team. They were a family.

Ultimately, every father wants their child to be happy. With running, the Hoyts found that together.

As we head into Father’s Day, the Hoyts are an example of what a child means to his father and how a father can influence his child. The steps they have taken together since 1977 should inspire us all to be better people. And they should serve as proof that even life’s toughest challenges are never insurmountable, especially when you have a father like Dick Hoyt by your side.

In small ways and large ways, each of us has a father who is making a difference in our lives. This Sunday, we hope you thank them for all they have done and maybe take a moment to let your father know that he is your hero.

If you’re looking for a gift for your father, check out our sunglasses. They are the perfect way to show your dad just how cool you think he is. If you’re dad likes the outdoors, then consider Costa or Maui Jim, both brands that are ideal for those who spend time golfing, hiking or on the water. For a slightly more sophisticated look, Ray-Bans and Randolph are another popular option for Father’s Day.

And finally, we hope you take some time to learn more about Dick and Rick Hoyt (click here) and the amazing work they are doing to help others with disabilities.

Words of an Icon: “ I’m like any other man in America. Only I got lucky—I have a beautiful son and an activity we can do together, despite his disability. It’s been an incredible journey. I’m not a hero. I’m just a father. And all I did was tie on a pair of running shoes and push my son in his wheelchair.” – Dick Hoyt