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Forty-three years ago, Rick was born without the ability to talk, walk or barely move. "They said, 'Forget Rick,'" remembers his father, Dick. "'Put him in an institution. He's going to be nothing but a vegetable for the rest of his life.' My wife and I cried a little bit but we talked and we said, 'We're going to bring Rick home and bring him up like any other child."

Dick knew deep down that his son was thriving on the inside, and he insisted Rick go to school. He believed with every fiber of his being that his son had something to say—and he was right. At age 12, Dick had a special computer built so that Rick could communicate. What were his first words? Not "mom" or "dad" as his parents expected. "The Boston Bruins were going for the Stanley Cup," Dick remembers. "The very first words he ever said were 'Go, Bruins.'"

Rick, born with the heart of a true athlete, made a request that would change their lives forever—he asked his father to team up for a five-mile charity race. Dick had never run in his life. "We finished the whole five miles coming in next to last," Dick remembers, "but not last. When we came across the finish line, it was the biggest smile you ever saw in your life. Rick wrote on his computer, 'Dad, when I'm running, it feels like my disability disappears.'"
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FROM: Gay for 30 Days
Published on October 20, 2005

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