One Letter at a Time

"One Letter at a Time" by Dick and Rick Hoyt Todd Civin. Read the inspirational story as told by Rick Hoyt, who uses his specially designed computer along with his unique method of communicating to share his amazing story. Rick was born a non-verbal spastic, quadriplegic with Cerebral Palsy who has competed in nearly 1100 athletic competitions with the help of his father, Dick, including 30 Boston Marathons. Learn the stories of Rick's independent life, of his graduation from Boston University and of his successes and challenges on and off the race circuit.. 

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OUR PASSION: One Letter at a Time is the life long story of famed marathoner and triathlete, Rick Hoyt, who together with his equally famous father, Dick Hoyt, makes up the world-renowned duo known as Team Hoyt.Rick, who is a non-verbal spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy has spent his entire life in a wheel chair unable to control his spastic movements from the neck down. Despite his disability, the younger Hoyt, age 50, has been pushed, pedaled and paddled to the finish line of nearly 1100 races by his 72-year old equally inspiring father, Dick. In addition to being known the world over for their athletic prowess, the Hoyts have become a symbol of the undying love between a father and a son.Dick and his late wife, Judy, made the decision following Rick's diagnosis shortly after his birth, to bring him up like all other children and give him the life experiences of a non-disabled person despite the doctors' recommendations to institutionalize Rick due to the fact that he would never be anything more "than a vegetable".Fifty years later this world famous "vegetable" lives his life independently, is a college graduate from Boston University with his degree in Special Education, has competed in 30 Boston Marathons and is the 25th member of the Iron Man Hall of Fame in Kona Hawaii; fittingly entering just ahead of his father who was enshrined as number 26. For the last year and a half I have had the pleasure of assisting Rick in the realization of a dream for both he and I as we recently completed his book, One Letter at a Time.


One Letter at a Time is the story of Rick's life as told by Rick and the people that he has inspired. The book, published by Mascot Books, is a 300 page-hard covered book, with 10 pages of exclusive photos, which shares stories of Rick's life from birth to present and allows him to tell the Team Hoyt story through his vantage point. What makes this accomplishment thoroughly mind boggling is the fact that Rick is non-verbal and completed his sections of the book using his one letter at a time method of speaking known as the Russell Method.The Russell Method was devised by Rick and his younger brother, Russell, when Rick was a young teenager after the Hoyt family became frustrated by the difficulty Rick had communicating using his interactive speech computer.The Russell method, though not perfect, allows Rick to communicate using the alphabet and slight nods of his head when the person to whom he is speaking with hits upon the letter in the word that Rick is attempting to convey.

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It is understandable how the completion of the book using Rick's one letter at a time method of speaking was an exercise in patience, diligence and perseverance. Every word, every sentence, every paragraph, and therefore every chapter required painstaking commitment on the part of my amazingly inspiring friend. 

"I am writing this book about my life because I want people to know that despite my disabilities, I am very much like most people on the inside. I live a normal life and think, love and laugh just like anyone else" explains Rick in his chapter entitled, Welcome to My World." We don’t use the word “normal” in our family because, what is normal? Normal is simply what you know, so my life is normal. This is all I have ever known, so I have nothing to compare it to. Though my life may be very different than your own, it does not make me abnormal, simply different.

"Since the launch of the book which is being sold at our website, fans have gravitated to it and sent letters and emails in abundance thanking Rick for sharing the innermost details of his life.

When asked about the completion of his life changing best seller in waiting, Rick tapped out his one letter at a time response, "I hope that after reading 'One Letter at a Time', people will think differently when they see someone who is disabled or non-verbal. I hope that they now see this person as someone who has thoughts and feelings and intelligence and not just as a person with a disability." 

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