judy reeve | September 19, 2006 at 1:48 pm
Mike and Michelle, I have been faithfully following Mike’s progress and reading all your updates. We are so touched by your faith and God’s mighty work with Mike. I realized that I had not told you this . We pray for all of you daily and are amazed at your steadfastness. Love Judy and Wayne Reeve
Beth Esterkamp | September 29, 2006 at 9:01 pm
My name is Beth Esterkamp. I am Tom Nugent’s sister. Mike was at my house the day of my wedding. I have a photo of myself with Tom and Mike right after I got dressed into my wedding gown. The “boys” were about 17 at the time.
Anyway, I just received this link from my mom. Please know that our family will be keeping Mike and his family in our prayers and following his progress.
Tom Nugent | September 30, 2006 at 4:08 pm
Mike and I were very close friends in high school.
Each member of the Zegarski family is in my thoughts and prayers each day.
I am looking forward to the golf outing.
Let Mike know that my wife (Lorie) and I have a girl named Sophia that is 3 years old and we are expecting our second in January.
The Nugent Family
Jane Ice | October 3, 2006 at 2:44 pm
Hi Michelle. This is Jane Ice (wife of Andy Ice – Dan Zegarski’s law partner/friend)
I have been following your postings and I’ve been praying for your families. You have a beautiful way of sharing through your writing, what is going on in your’s and Mike’s journey. I read what you said about slowing down and being patient and accepting of each day. I agree with you. I’m praying for all of us to have patience and peace. This is such a life altering situation, but I can see by your entries that you have strengthened your faith in God during this time. You are blessed, and I feel blessed for being able pray along with all of your friends and family. I do feel there is strength in prayer. Andy and friends are participating in the upcoming golf outing. I hope everyone has a good time.
I watched a video recently that has had a profound impact on my life. I realize that every day is a gift and we are called to be thankful, even when life is not smooth and easy. I am a runner, and this video and story were sent to me by a fellow runner at work. It’s a story of love and inspiration like I’ve never seen it. I feel like I got to see the face of God. I’d like to share this with you. My prayers will continue to be with you.
attached is the story and the 4 minute video. I hope you can open it. Be sure to have the volume up.
Strongest Dad In the World
by Rick Reilly
I try to be a good father. Give my kids mulligans. Work nights to pay for their text messaging. Take them to swimsuit shoots.
But compared with Dick Hoyt, I suck.
Eighty-five times he’s pushed his disabled son, Rick, 26.2 miles in marathons. Eight times he’s not only pushed him 26.2 miles in a wheelchair but also towed him 2.4 miles in a dinghy while swimming and pedaled him 112 miles in a seat on the handlebars — all in the same day.
Dick’s also pulled him cross-country skiing, taken him on his back mountain climbing and once hauled him across the U.S. on a bike. Makes taking your son bowling look a little lame, right?
And what has Rick done for his father? Not much — except save his life.
This love story began in Winchester, Mass., 43 years ago, when Rick was strangled by the umbilical cord during birth, leaving him brain-damaged and unable to control his limbs.
“He’ll be a vegetable the rest of his life,” Dick says doctors told him and his wife, Judy, when Rick was nine months old. “Put him in an institution.”
But the Hoyts weren’t buying it. They noticed the way Rick’s eyes followed them around the room. When Rick was 11 they took him to the engineering department at Tufts University and asked if there was anything to help the boy communicate. “No way,” Dick says he was told. “There’s nothing going on in his brain.”
“Tell him a joke,” Dick countered. They did. Rick laughed. Turns out a lot was going on in his brain.
Rigged up with a computer that allowed him to control the cursor by touching a switch with the side of his head, Rick was finally able to communicate. First words? “Go Bruins!” And after a high school classmate was paralyzed in an accident and the school organized a charity run for him, Rick pecked out, “Dad, I want to do that.”
Yeah, right. How was Dick, a self-described “porker” who never ran more than a mile at a time, going to push his son five miles? Still, he tried. “Then it was me who was handicapped,” Dick says. “I was sore for two weeks.”
That day changed Rick’s life. “Dad,” he typed, “when we were running, it felt like I wasn’t disabled anymore!”
And that sentence changed Dick’s life. He became obsessed with giving Rick that feeling as often as he could. He got into such hard-belly shape that he and Rick were ready to try the 1979 Boston Marathon.
“No way,” Dick was told by a race official. The Hoyts weren’t quite a single runner, and they weren’t quite a wheelchair competitor. For a few years Dick and Rick just joined the massive field and ran anyway, then they found a way to get into the race officially: In 1983 they ran another marathon so fast they made the qualifying time for Boston the following year.
Then somebody said, “Hey, Dick, why not a triathlon?”
How’s a guy who never learned to swim and hadn’t ridden a bike since he was six going to haul his 110-pound kid through a triathlon? Still, Dick tried.
Now they’ve done 212 triathlons, including four grueling 15-hour Ironmans in Hawaii. It must be a buzzkill to be a 25-year-old stud getting passed by an old guy towing a grown man in a dinghy, don’t you think?
Hey, Dick, why not see how you’d do on your own? “No way,” he says. Dick does it purely for “the awesome feeling” he gets seeing Rick with a cantaloupe smile as they run, swim and ride together.
This year, at ages 65 and 43, Dick and Rick finished their 24th Boston Marathon, in 5,083rd place out of more than 20,000 starters. Their best time? Two hours, 40 minutes in 1992 — only 35 minutes off the world record, which, in case you don’t keep track of these things, happens to be held by a guy who was not pushing another man in a wheelchair at the time.
“No question about it,” Rick types. “My dad is the Father of the Century.”
And Dick got something else out of all this too. Two years ago he had a mild heart attack during a race. Doctors found that one of his arteries was 95% clogged. “If you hadn’t been in such great shape,” one doctor told him, “you probably would’ve died 15 years ago.”
So, in a way, Dick and Rick saved each other’s life.
Rick, who has his own apartment (he gets home care) and works in Boston, and Dick, retired from the military and living in Holland, Mass., always find ways to be together. They give speeches around the country and compete in some backbreaking race every weekend, including this Father’s Day.
That night, Rick will buy his dad dinner, but the thing he really wants to give him is a gift he can never buy.
“The thing I’d most like,” Rick types, “is that my dad sit in the chair and I push him once.”
Issue date: June 20, 2005
Here’s the 4-minute video link
Aunt Jayne Holian | November 2, 2006 at 7:02 pm
I just want you to know that I’ve been praying for Mike and your little family. When I’m able to, I try to inform Mom and Art and also Jody of Mike’s progress. So we keep the chain of prayer going. When possible to remember, you might consider if you don’t already, to call on Grandpa in heaven. I truly believe he is watching from above. I believe he is communicating to my daughter in her dreams. Miracles do happen! I’m not always able to bring this site up on the computer, for whatever reason but, I just wanted you to know that you are not forgotten.
May God our loving Father keep you
in the palm of His Hands.
Love to you and Mike.
Tawny de Jong | March 14, 2007 at 9:59 am
I was forwarded this link from the Young Life regional director in Idaho. My prayers are with you and your family. May God bless you!
Tawny de Jong
Jeff Chesemore | August 11, 2007 at 8:47 am
Mike and Michelle,
Just wanted to let you know that your faith and strength in Christ are not going unnoticed. Thank you for your updates – I pray for you and your children.
While I don’t believe I’ve ever met you, I know Steve and Kirstin pretty well. I’ve been on staff with YL for 17 years, so I have a keen appreciation for your labor in the Lord – and marvel at your continued commitment in the face of such adversity.
While I’m sure you don’t feel it much of the time, you are a true testament to faithfulness to so many of us.
I have no platitudes to offer (and I’m sure you don’t want or need to hear any more); please just know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.
Kristi Vana | December 12, 2007 at 10:00 pm
Michelle—-I just wanted you to know that there are so many people who continue to think about and pray for you and your family. I had the opportunity to meet Mike while teaching in Chicago and volunteering with LT Young Life. Justin Elder is a close friend and I grew to respect Mike as a result of it all. Your faith is such an encouragement to people like me whom you have never even met, but continue to see the humanity and depth of your journey. Be blessed in the small things. Thank you.
Sarah Nixdorf | February 7, 2008 at 6:13 pm
When I look back in 2007(I’ll spare the details), I see that God can take even 5 seconds and turn them into an adventure with lots more to learn.
But God still can do what he wants including healing Mike Z from this. he can pull through it, i know he can – Get Well and that God is a God of wonders and truth.
Even take a 22 yr.old and teach her lots.
Bruce Gervel | March 25, 2008 at 4:12 pm
Michelle – It has been awhile since I have checked in with the Zegarski’s. I am a little embarassed to say that what else can I say………But anyway please know that our family, Nan, Shannon Bradford (little girl Halle Anne), brother Quinn are still praying that we will see Mike walking down the Riverwalk with his family one of these days just like before………..For Sure! Your Faith has kept him strong and a hundred thousand other people strong as well.
We have an incredible God with awesome powers which he proves continually each day that I am on this earth. I have supreme faith Mike is in his sights and will not let him, you and your family down. Know that we are constantly thinking of you all.
charlene | August 10, 2008 at 3:18 pm
I just happened to be googling for Colette Desiree Cerveny, I’m her birthmother and it took me to this link I sa w Colette Cerveny, and if she sees this please contact me. I’m glad to see this Colette has faith and is on a hour for prayer. I’m Catholic and she was adopted through Catholic Charities in 1970 from Chicago, also she was born at St. Joseph’s hospital. I love and think of her and we have been praying to find her, and I hope this may be you. Please contact me. CharleneHanna(Cerveny) Also Born 4-17-1970
charlene | August 10, 2008 at 3:21 pm
I just want to add a prayer to Mike’s list. There’s also a reason I’m here. God may have put me here also to pray for Mike . I hope and pray everything is better for you. Charlene
Annie | September 2, 2008 at 4:56 pm
Michelle! It’s your long-but not totally lost-friend Annie. I heard you ran into Carrie (Jackson) Shen a few weeks ago and she told me about your conversation. You are an AMAZING, STRONG woman and your family is BEAUTIFUL! I have been wanting to get in touch with you for so long and was happy to hear about your connection with Carrie. I would love to get back in touch! Not sure if you can get my email address from this, so if I don’t hear from you soon, I will send it to you. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
Dan Teasdale | November 19, 2008 at 5:01 am
Hi big Mike! I am in Iraq keeping things safe. I am enjoying my duty in the Army. I miss you and hope you are doing well, I appreciate everything you did for me, you always were there for me.
Chris Cutlip | December 3, 2008 at 12:02 pm
Hey Mike (Z) and family,
I was thinking about you today and thought I would write you a note. I was recalling our Y.L. days at Alter. Do you remember grilling Big Red Smookys at the Lehners house in the summer? That was fun. You were/are one of my mentors. I’m glad our paths crossed when Dave Etling introduced us at UD. I’m praying for you and your beautiful family.
Lisa Wiehe | July 27, 2009 at 8:15 pm
We always remember you, Mike and the kids in our daily prayers. You are so strong and faithful and are an inspiration to me.
Wishing you many blessings,
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