October 13, 2014

The Wind in His Hair

Want to know who makes me cry every single time I see them?

Team Hoyt.

You know them -- the determined and selfless father who has pushed and pulled his son with disabilities through hundreds of marathons, triathlons and every thing in between.  Go ahead and Google them if you haven't seen them.  It is beyond touching.

I have a dear friend that I have a lot in common with. . . and a little thing we don't share in common -- she loves to run and I have a strong aversion to it.  That's ok, we can still be friends.  She found a way to overcome that difference between us. She formed a little Team Hoyt around Bridger.  She couldn't make a runner out of her friend, so she was going to make a runner out of her friend's son with special needs.  She was going to make him feel the wind in his hair.

The weekend before last Bridger registered for his first 5k.  It is with an amazing organization called Ainsley's Angels, which was formed by a father running with his daughter with special needs as he pushed her along the course in her chair.  Ainsley's Angels partners a team of "pushers" with a "captain" (an individual with special needs) and even provides special needs running chairs for those that need them. This particular race was sponsored by Team Hoyt.

I decked out Bridger's special needs jogging chair and made him ready for his first race.  He was so excited to get in it!  We met out team of pushers - Ben and my friend, Danielle.  Alan and Lance were out of town but Bridger's sisters and his dog, Ty, came to cheer him on.  Danielle's family all came to cheer on Team Bridger as well and provided Bridger some pre-race energy.

The sensation of the wind in our face is such a common place feeling for us able-bodied people that we think nothing of it.  But to Bridger, that sensation was nothing short of thrilling.  

They crossed the finish line as the third team.  Bridger melted down at the sound of the applause (he hates clapping) but soon recovered to excitedly receive his medal.

Danielle's daughter, Taylor, is Bridger's lady love and gave him a much needed hug to help him regroup after the applause.

The whole way home and throughout the following week he proudly reminded me that he "won da race and got a med-oh". He repeatedly would tell me that he wanted to do another race and asked me when he could do it again.

I love that he found something he loves.

I love people that would take time and attention off of themselves and give it to a child with special needs.  It was Ben's anniversary that day.  He chose to spend that special morning bringing a smile to a face that doesn't get to smile as much as a child should.  Danielle had to get off work to be there.  That is no small task, nor is readying her husband and four children to be out the door at 6:30am to be there.

I love people, both friend and stranger alike, who will take their passion and share it with Bridger.  Anyone who wants to step into the circle of a child with special needs is always welcome.  

Thank you, Danielle and Ben, for joining us in ours!