Team Hoyt

Oct 23

If you have not heard of Team Hoyt, you should check out their website, They have an amazing story to share- so inspirational!  When you think you cannot go one more mile, whether it’s in life or on the pavement, think of Team Hoyt.  You can do anything!

My friend, Heather, will be running for Team Hoyt this April in the Boston marathon.  I am so proud of her!  This girl can do some serious running!  Heather and I have been friends for many years.  I love that Heather has turned her passion into her mission to help others.  Now, before I get all teary eyed…..why don’t you take a minute to read her story:

In 2009 I ran a marathon, and it changed my life. I discovered something within myself I never knew existed. And I wanted more. So in 2010 I ran two more marathons. Then in 2011 I discovered something better. I ran more marathons, but not for myself. I ran for Jake.

My best friend’s nephew was diagnosed with brain cancer. He was only 14 years old when he was diagnosed. It crushed her–that crushed me. I wanted to do something. Anything! Then it hit me. The answer came to me like a wave of euphoria. Like a runner’s high. I could run for her nephew. I’d spent so much time lamenting on all the ways I couldn’t help my friend, or her nephew, that when I realized the answer to helping them was as simple as running, I scolded myself for not thinking of it sooner.

So with the help of Jake’s family, we set up the I Run for Jake website and Facebook page. We sent e-mails and letters. We raised money to cover the expenses insurance couldn’t touch. Anyone who’s experienced cancer knows the financial consequences of cancer reach far beyond hospital bills. The response was overwhelming! So many people cared and wanted to help. This gave them an outlet. This gave people who wanted to do something the opportunity to do something.

The training for the pending races was tough. And I struggled. You see, I had just delivered our third child in March. Jake’s diagnosis came in July. The first marathon was in September. That didn’t leave a post-partum, overweight woman much time to get into marathon shape. After the grueling first race, I ran a half marathon a week later, then another marathon three weeks after that, and one last marathon three weeks after that. But my physical exhaustion was nothing compared to Jake’s, and that reminder kept me going.

I am a mom, and my children learn by example. They are learning life is bigger than them. And that most days, life is not about them. Team Hoyt taught me that, and I’m trying to pass that on to my kids. The first time I heard about Dick and Rick Hoyt I read as much material as could be found on the famous duo. It’s Only a Mountain and Devoted are two books I love loaning out to friends who need some inspiration. Every time the Hoyts are brought up in conversation, I am shocked when someone chimes in, “Who? Who is Team Hoyt?” I thought everyone has heard of the Hoyts! I was inspired by them to run for Jake. That experience has left me longing to run again with a purpose. Being a mom makes me want every child, every person to have the same opportunities as everybody else. I cannot help but think of my own children when I see an individual with a disability. Thoughts of gratitude consume me that my children are healthy, as well as thoughts of wanting to do something for those who aren’t as fortunate. Maybe the answer is as simple as running.

I am honored and humbled to represent and raise awareness for the Hoyt Foundation.  I am moved to tears each and every time I watch the “Yes You Can” video on the Hoyt’s website. Their inspiration is a driving force that is limitless.  Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?


This spring, April 15, 2013, I am running on the Team Hoyt Boston Marathon 2013 team.  It is a dream come true for two reasons.

1.  I get to meet and run with two superheroes I have admired from afar.

2.  I get to run the Boston marathon.  A race that my slow legs will never be fast enough to qualify me for.  So I get to run it instead with my heart.

Please consider donating to the Hoyt Foundation.  It is 100% volunteer run, so 100% of the money raised goes to help people with disabilities be active members of their communities.  Here is a link to my fundraising webpage:

All the Best,

Heather Ekola
“Yes You Can!”


  1. Heather /

    I checked out your blog. It popped up when I was googling something. Thanks for posting Holly!!!!! Miss you like crazy!!!

    • Awwww miss you too girly! Wish we could get together more often! I can’t believe you are going to be running the race soon! I’m so excited for you!

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