Competing in a triathlon is challenging. Raising a child with cerebral palsy is incredibly challenging. Doing both at the same time, literally? That's challenging to the millionth degree. Which is why I'm so impressed and inspired by Rick van Beek. The 39-year-old dad knew his 13-year-old daughter would never be able to participate in a triathlon by herself. Maddy has cerebral palsy and can't walk or talk. But Maddy loves the outdoors. So last weekend in Michigan, Rick van Beek completed a triathlon WITH Maddy: Pulling her in a kayak as he swam, pulling her in a cart as rode his bicycle, and pushing her in a wheelchair as he ran.
Are there any gold medals left over from the Olympics? Cause this dad deserves one. Maybe even several.
Oh, and did I mention "Team Maddy" has participated in about 70 of these types of events since 2008?
At which point Rick van Beek was still far from what you'd call athletic. But his determination to give Maddy the experiences she couldn't have on her own motivated him to quit smoking and get in shape. He describes this motivation on his blog:
Call it inspiration, call it motivation, call it what ever you want, I call it LOVE.
That will never fade ... she is my heart and I am her legs, though someday she might not physically be able to be there with me, she will always be in my heart, quietly cheering me on.
See what I mean about the gold medal? This man is beyond amazing. An inspiration to any parent, any human being, anywhere.
Are you completely blown away by this dad's dedication?
Image via SourceFed/YouTube