Rick van Beek of Byron Center, Michigan, was very much your average Joe just a few years back. He wasn’t much of an athlete, he drank, he smoked he chewed tobacco. But when Rick’s now 13-year-old daughter Maddy, who suffers from cerebral palsy, came into his life he stopped those bad habits and replaced them with some very heroic ones. Now every year Rick takes his daughter with him on half-marathons and other outdoor races. Together “Team Maddy” has participated in more than 70 triathlons. Maddy herself cannot walk or talk, so Rick pushes Maddy in a buggy, pulls her in a special bike when it comes to cycling and pulls her through the water in a custom-made kayak. One thing Rick knows about Maddy is that she enjoys being outside with the breeze in her hair and in her face.
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