For the last 26 years, I have undergone many hairstyles and fashion trends; I have changed my opinion on religion, went through about 5 different majors and have had an incredible amount of hobbies. To say that I "flutter" is an understatement. However, there is one thing that has stayed entirely consistent: I have considered my brother a hero since day one.
My parent were in an auto accident with my brother 28 years ago. He was 18 months, and was left with a permanent disability, much like Rich Hoyt. As difficult as struggling with a physical disability is, my brother, Ryan Shuck, showed no fear. He endured nearly 30 surgeries, played in a challenger baseball league, and learned to drive with one hand and one foot. As if high school isn't hard enough for the typical pimple-faced teen, Ryan spent a good amount of these formative years in a body cast. While my sisters and I jumped, tumbled and flipped on the cheerleading squad, Ryan did his best to stay as involved as he could in sports. He went to every football and basketball game, becoming the basketball stats recorder. He graduated and went on to obtain a bachelor's degree from University of Tampa in Sports Management.
Ryan now lives in a small, swanky part of Tampa Bay referred to as SoHo, where he has been crowned "The Mayor" due to his always expected appearances at the local diners and joints. Everyone knows him by name. Ryan spends his extra time selflessly helping others in need by volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House. Every time I walk around with Ryan, it is clear that his presence has affected the lives of those around him.
I want to make that presence more known. I want to share the incredible lives of my brother, Ryan, and Rick with those who have had the unfortunate displeasure of not knowing this or their uplifting stories. I want to spread the knowledge that people who have an impairment of any kind can achieve anything that they wish. I want people who stare, to stare with amazement and not confusion. I want so badly have the smallest fraction of impact on the inspiring lives that give so many people hope and determination to be the strongest people they can be.
It is true that , if chosen, I will be running the marathon that my brother will not be able to physically run, but he is the one who has truly raced the marathon of life. He is the one that has overcome more obstacles and has won more races than I could ever imagine. I want to run this race for him, and I to run it with the ever-inspiring Team Hoyt. I have never in my life felt so certain about supporting such a cause. This foundation speaks to me and my family more than you will ever know.
I have an incredible amount of supporters that I trust will work together as a team to raise funds for this cause. My father, in particular, raised over $5,000 four years ago when he biked 200 hundred miles for the United Cerebral Palsy Association on behalf of my brother. I also have no doubt in my mind that Ryan's friends and neighbors will come together in an incredible effort to support him, as he has been such a vital part of the community.
Determination simply does not sum up my brother, and it most certainly does not sum up my prospective efforts in raising awareness for the Hoyt Foundation. Along with my 25-week training schedule that I have mapped out for myself, I plan on doing everything in my power to raise as much money as I can, and will cross that finish line in honor of my brother and every individual physically unable to do so. I may be last to cross that finish line, but there not be one ounce of defeat in my heart. To race the Boston Marathon with Team Hoyt will be the third greatest accomplishment of my life: the first and always foremost, giving birth to my son, Gray, and the second being selected to join a team that honors the words that my brother has expressed for the last 29 years: Yes You Can!