In a newspaper article written just before last year's tragic Boston Marathon, Rick Hoyt of the well-known father-son duo racing team of Dick and Rick Hoyt remarked that while he is in races with his dad, he forgets about his disabilities. That comment struck me, and led me to realize that my son Colby, who has severe learning disabilities, hypotonia, autism and who cannot talk, experiences a much more elementary but similar feeling during our duo-team races. He leans forward in his racing chair, sometimes rocking back and forth as if to help us along, smiles frequently, and expresses his excitement by flapping his arms and joyfully shouting to gain the attention of spectators and fellow runners (especially on the rare occasions when we pass one of them). Although Colby cannot verbalize his enjoyment of our races, his elation during them, and the fact that I get lots of what we call "hippo kisses" (big open mouth smacks of affection) the rest of the day after each race, leaves no doubt in my mind that he genuinely enjoys the spirit and thrill of competition.
Colby and I have been invited to run as a duo team in the 2014 Boston Marathon on behalf of the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress, an exemplary and highly regarded non-profit organization which helps families with children with all types of disabilities through the challenges of life. The MDSC, whose motto is "Promoting Acceptance and Inclusion," will try to have people at various points in the race sing "Happy Birthday" to Colby, his favorite song. He gets very excited when he hears the song because people are singing happily and using his name. Between being in the Marathon and having "Happy Birthday" sung to him a few times during the race, this will be a very special day for Colby, his equivalent of the recent "Bat Kid" day in San Francisco.
We would greatly appreciate any contribution you can make to lend a hand in exceeding our funding goal to support this great organization and the families it assists as well as to support the "Boston Strong" movement in response to last year's tragic events. Thank you for your support. Sincerely-Jim and Colby Wagoner