Friday, January 31, 2014

What Team Hoyt Is All About

Team Hoyt is not the simple math of Dick and Rick plus a few charity runners.
It's so much more than that. 

It's bringing disability awareness to life.
It's giving hope and spirit to those who need it most.
It's about Rick Hoyt participating in thousands of races.
It's about Ryan Shuck being the Mayor of Soho. 

So when Kathy, Team Hoyt's office manager, sent us this incredible article,
I knew I had to share. 

Meet Lucy, who will become the newest member of Team Hoyt. 
At the age of 64, our friend knows nothing of her biological family.
She has developmental delays. She cannot speak.
But boy does she have heart. 

She spent her first 30 years in an institution,
but now lives in Rehabilitative Resources, Inc., 
which is one source of where a generous amount of Hoyt Foundation dollars go to.

She could be mad.
She could be spiteful.
But instead she is kind. She is hopeful. 
She dedicates her time to others, 
especially sick children.

And her dream? 
To run with Team Hoyt. 
We're making her dreams come true.

This is Lucy.
This my team.
This is why I run.

Birthday gift to self: Pay it forward




SOUTHBRIDGE — No more than 4 feet tall, Lucille "Lucy" Lambert, through small gestures of kindness, celebrated her 64th birthday doing for others in what has become her hometown.

Inside the house where she lives with her roommates are bright paintings adorned with positive sayings.

And while some might pass them by without a second thought, the four roommates who have lived here together for almost a decade take the words seriously; their mottos seemingly "pay it forward" and "everyone can do something."

Lucy has developmental delays, she doesn't speak but uses some sign language. Her walk is awkward and her diet limited by the cleft pallet she was born with. She is tiny, shopping in the children's department for clothing to fit her very petite frame. She spent most of the first 30 years of her life at Wrentham State Hospital, but she can't share any memories, good or bad, of her early days. She knows nothing of her biological family.

When she turned 64 on Wednesday, she could have marked her birthday by going out with friends or relaxing at home, but true to the spirit of her "family," she got up and went out to do something for others.

Rehabilitative Resources Inc. Assistant Program Manager Victoria Amaral accompanied Lucy on what turned into a busy day of giving. They stopped at the bank, where Lucy withdrew money from her savings account, and then they shopped for coloring books, which they took to Harrington Hospital in Southbridge so sick children might have something to occupy their time.

Even though hospitals, especially the ones made of brick, frighten Lucy, she managed to gather her strength and go inside to present the gifts, Ms. Amaral said.

Lucy not only loves children, she also loves animals, so during a stop at Second Chance Animal Shelter in East Brookfield she dropped off towels that are used for the cats and dogs.

Program Manager Malerie Germain said Lucy is well known in Southbridge, where she frequents Dunkin' Donuts — dipping Munchkins in her beloved coffee.

She stops in at a local deli where the soups are something she can easily eat. She attends services at Central Baptist Church and bakes for church functions.

In honor of her birthday, Lucy also penned thank-you notes to the people who provide her with services such as bringing her mail and taking away the trash. She also sent a card to a church member who is sick.

And there were plates of cookies for the police officer and firefighters along with coffee for her friends at Santander Bank.

While the firefighters were out on a call, Lucy left the cookies, which they found and appreciated, a dispatcher said.

"They were very good and they were really enjoyed," she said.

Lucy shares the home, run by Rehabilitative Resources Inc., with two other women and one man.

They take part in local activities, visit Capen Hill Nature Sanctuary and have art classes on Tuesday nights. Lucy especially enjoys entertaining and during the warmer months can usually be found sunning herself on the porch. She attends a day program during the week.

She uses a Kindle set up with programs to help her cognitive abilities and rides an adapted tricycle to keep her knees in shape.

Someday she hopes to get a tricycle she can use outside.

Recently, Lucy took part in some road races and is hoping to join Team Hoyt where she could be paired with a runner who would push her in a specialized wheelchair and they'd work as a team.

One of her roommates bakes dog treats for the shelter, and they are working on a plan to help local veterans.

While the four have always done good deeds, they ramped up their efforts after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, when folks were being asked to "pay it forward," in memory of those slain.

After some brainstorming about ways Lucy could help others on her birthday, she and the staff decided on her day of giving. She didn't completely forgo a party, though.

She celebrated with neighbors, some of the home's seven staff members and friends Tuesday night, Ms. Germain said.

The reaction of those on the receiving end of Lucy's generosity were surprised and appreciative, Ms. Amaral said.

"A little act of kindness goes a long way," Ms. Germain said.

Contact Kim Ring at Follow her o

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Change of Plans

Life is full of surprises. 
Some are good.
Some are bad.
Some include not having a job after your maternity leave. 

Say what?!
It's true. 
It's complicated. 
But it happened.

This is not a bad thing. 
I mean, what mother doesn't want to spend all day with her new baby, right?
This is not a good thing.
Um, money ring a bell?

However, it's a new twist in my life, 
and hell if I'm not going to make lemonade out of lemons.
On second thought, let's make that a Lemon Drop.

SO, one of the drawbacks to not returning to work is that I will have to complete nearly all of my training runs with my pint-sized sidekick. 
But on the upside, I can now go to the 5:45pm Boot Camp class and not wake up at 4:30am for the 5:30 class.

On the subject of training with my sidekick, 
I'm getting further into my training, 
which means that the runs are getting longer,
and she's not getting any lighter. 

I had someone comment to me the other day, "Isn't running with a stroller easier?"
The short answer is "No."
My answer is "You see that hill over there? Here is my stroller with the 30 lb carseat strapped to it, and a 10 lb baby in it. Now, go run up that hill while keeping your body upright. Then try running back down that hill at a steady pace. Oh yeah, you should do that about 10 more times. Aaaand I'm pretty sure I forgot to pump the tires. Then you tell me."

Upside to stroller training? 
My arms got pretty chubbytastic whilst pregnant. 
So this will quickly eliminate that issue.

The days also seem to not be getting any warmer. 
Now, the problem used to be that it took longer to get the babe bundled up than the actual run took. 

On what has become a "typical" 30-degree day,
my wardrobe includes running tights, long sleeve, windbreaker, scarf for breathing, two ear warmers, and gloves.
For my friend: footie flannel jammies, fleece baby bunting, hat, and four blankets strategically placed in stroller so that no wind touches skin.

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Now that runs are getting longer, the time isn't much of a concern. 
HOWEVER, you have a newborn baby possibly exposed to the cold longer. 

This is where this bad boy came into play:

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It has just occurred to me that I likely look like a homeless person with all that plastic,
but at least my little friend is warm and unscathed from the frosty elements.

So you see, there are some changes... but last I checked, change is good. 
Change is also challenging, and boy do I enjoy a challenge. 
So much so that I ran my 6-miler today in record stroller-pushing time. 

Nice try, world. Nothing's going to hold me back. 


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Ryan's Eulogy

Today, just over 8 months later,
we will finally be laying Ryan to rest.
I was extremely humbled to be the one to give the eulogy at his funeral,
and while it was tough to write and ever harder to read,
it still gives me comfort to re-read it.

A lot of people who couldn't be at the funeral asked for me to share it,
so I thought today to be the appropriate day to do just that.

When something unexpected like this happens, I imagine most people think of the should-a, could-a, would’as. And I no doubt found myself doing the same thing when I found out about Ryan.

‘I should not have pestered him on the way to school in the mornings.‘

‘I could have been more supportive of his beliefs.’

‘I should have never said anything about how he finished only half of his beverages every time.’

But the fact of the matter is that I was his sister, and he was my brother. We pinched and hit. He chased me with spit bubbles, and I made fun of him when he used to wear four watches on one arm.

To tell you the truth, I didn’t even know anything was different with Ryan until I was much older. It’s the reason that when I started crawling, I chose to do so with one arm and one leg. It’s the reason that I challenged him to WWF wrestling matches. We didn’t treat him as a little boy who was wounded in an accident at a young age. He was just our brother, and our family didn’t see him any differently that.

When we rode bikes to school, he scooted right beside us. When us girls were cheerleading, he kept the team stats. We tortured him by making him wear makeup, and he always hid the chocolate donuts from us in the kitchen cabinets. We all packed in the car like Griswald’s and traveled from sea to sea. He was just one of the Shuck kids.

It wasn’t until his high school graduation that I realized just how special Ryan was. Those ceremonies are dreadful for any kid, but when his name was called, the thousands of people that were in the ceremony hall all stood in one swoop to honor him in a standing ovation. I was overwhelmed. I had been in the presence of someone so truly spectacular my whole life. How did I miss this? So I started to pay more attention.

Ryan’s strength is something that I don’t think any of us will ever know. We can all lift weights, and run and dance, but his feats were beyond anything we could fathom.

He not only learned to play video games with one hand, but he was the best. No one could beat him. He even learned to play with the Nintendo play pad, which sometimes required both hands and feet. And he still somehow managed to beat our scores.        

With a few minor additions to a vehicle, he learned to drive. He even coordinated his own carpool, taking me and my friends to school every day.

He stunned us all when he said he wanted to live at the college dorms at University of Tampa. He was the only one of us kids who didn’t find his way back to my parents’ house after college. He went on to rent, and then to own his own condo.

From there, our shy brother somehow became the Mayor of Soho. He was so active and so proud of his community. Every time I was in town to visit, he would take me on a walk to his favorite spots. On our journey, everyone, and I mean everyone, would shout, “Hey Ryan!” And I would ask, “Who was that?” and after he cackled his most contagious laugh, he would reply, “I have no idea.”

We seemed to rotate Daily Eats and The Deck – both places I swear he single-handedly kept in business. Once we had loaded up on burgers, fries or pizza (Ryan’s Holy trinity of food), we would head over to MacDinton’s, The Dubliner, or SoHo Tavern, where he would famously only drink half of his Coors Light before opening a fresh one.

During Happy Hour, he’d also defeat the system by visiting every beer station and hiding all of the beer bottles in his scooter basket.

 He truly had no fear. His fearlessness gave him the strength to voice his opinions, something he probably didn’t have much of growing up in a house with mostly women. His rants and comments were bold, and often very publicly voiced on Facebook. And when we’d say something to him about it, he would just shrug and cackle.

 His views were a most admirable quality about him. He saw life in a different way than all of us, and my most favorite memory of Ryan will forever be how he was able to capture that on camera. He saw beyond a person, place or thing. He saw beauty and emotion, and was able to portray that with one photograph. Perhaps that was the best part of not being able to move quickly. He was able to truly sit back and enjoy the show.

 And enjoy he did. Ryan was rarely seen without a smile on his face. It was infectious, and this is why I assume is he was so popular in his community. He challenged people to realize that having differences didn’t mean being so different. That challenges are only what you make of them.

I don’t think he had any idea of the effect on people. It is positively the reason that I grew up and didn’t feel the need to judge anyone. The reason that I have friends of all shapes, sizes and colors. The reason that my children will grow up to be the same way. The reason my son from the moment he was mobile, would crawl and jump onto Ryan’s lap. He didn’t see a disability of any kind; he saw a loving uncle, who just had some sweet wheels and a horn.

That mindset alone brought on a huge shock to Ryan when I did the run for him last year. He gave me his blessing to publicize his life story to the world. And truthfully, I don’t think he was prepared for the overwhelming response that came our way. In the beginning he felt pitied, and he went months without speaking to me. But I knew I had to continue on because no one pitied him in the least; that race and that fundraiser was about overcoming obstacles, and Ryan was the king of them all. I may have run the miles, but it was he who lapped me several times over in the marathon of life.

Team Hoyt’s slogan is “Yes You Can,” but Ryan’s is “Yes He Did.”

And that’s how we should leave today. Ryan’s life was incredibly short, but not one moment went by that wasn’t fulfilled. What takes some of us a lifetime to achieve, he was able to do in 31 years – and that should be celebrated. He taught us all so much in that short time, and now it is our duty to keep his spirit alive. We must be strong and never second guess our strength. We must be kind and put differences aside so that we may learn from one another. We should act spontaneously and go places we never thought we could go. We should never give up and always continue to challenge ourselves.

We should wipe away our tears because Ryan would think that this was lame. I’m sure we’re all getting a few grunts right now from wherever he is. And lastly, we should drink copious amount of Coors Light, but immediately toss when the Rockie’s lose their blue.

Thank you all for coming. Your love, support and friendship to Ryan will always mean the world to us.

Monday, January 6, 2014

New Training Plan

Do you know what temperature it was at 5:15 this morning?
I do. 
It was cold. 
Seriously cold. 
At 5:15 this morning I was out the door to make in time for my first day back at boot camp.

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(If you're wondering, "Does Kellyn have a black eye?" The answer is "No. That is the kiss of parenthood,")

I know some of you up north think that that's warm at this point. 
But that is cold as a mother in Memphis. 

Anyway, this is all part of my new training plan. 
After a lot of thought, I reached out to Sgt. Tony about coming back to his boot camp class. 
My run training has been going well, but I don't want to push my luck.
Every good runner knows that good running doesn't come from running alone. 
Cross training is essential to safe running, improving time, and in my case, bouncing back from having a baby and running a marathon 5 months after. 

A few days of strength and core training mixed with a few running days.
No brainer, right? 
Well, that's where the five year old and newborn come into the mix. 
This was not going to be easy. 
At. All.

I actually was supposed to go last Friday, but honest to god, could not get out of bed. 

Here goes my Boot Camp morning schedule:

4:30am - Wake newborn and nurse
5am - Put newborn in bed with Husband and hope she continues to sleep. 
Get dressed. Start car - it's cold outside.
5:15am - Hop in car and drive to Boot Camp
5:30am - Boot Camp starts
6:30am - Boot Camp ends. 
6:38am - Get home. Pump milk. Drink water like it's going out of style
7am - Grab baby out of bed so husband can get a little bit more sleep. Wake 5 year old. 
7:15am - Serve breakfast to toddler. Hop in shower.
7:30am - Get dressed. Cover up eye bags and apply makeup.
7:45am - Eat my own breakfast while making lunches. 
8am - Nurse newborn again. 
8:15 - Bark at 5 year old to brush teeth, feed fish, grab stuff for school.
8:25 - Out the door for school.

That is 4 hours of non-stop business. 
And some people will not have opened one eye. 

But that's simply what it's going to take to get this done, and done well. 
So no, it won't be easy. 
Early rising. 
Rushing here and there.
Doing jumping jacks with nursing tatas. 
(Seriously, the most miserable thing I've ever done.)
Not lounging with my kid in the morning. 

But it's going to be worth the hassle when I cross the finish line on Boyslton St. 
It will be worth people learning more about people with disabilities.
It will be worth helping those people with disabilities. 

I wouldn't be doing this at all without the incentive of this great team and their message. 
Not joking. 
I mean, I enjoy running and working out, 
but I also enjoy lounging on my couch cuddled with my kids and drinking coffee.

This team. This race. This cause.
They really do mean the world to me.
Knowing that this is making my brother happy wherever he is. 
That's the icing on the cake. 

I may be crazy, but I'm making a difference. 

To donate to the Hoyt Foundation: Click Here