In October, Noah and Lucas had the opportunity to go to California for the Challenged Athletes Foundation San Diego Triathlon Challenge. The one word I would use to describe the weekend was “electric”. It was a weekend celebrating possibilities and abilities. It was a time of relaxation, reflection and excitement!
We were able to see old friends and make many, many new friends!
The weekend included swimming and surfing. A HUGE thanks to The Malibu Underdogs for driving down from Los Angeles to give the boys an opportunity of a lifetime. The Malibu Underdogs are a dedicated group that provides surf therapy sessions to children with special needs. Please check out their website, they are changing lives! Lucas surfed! Incredible!
On Friday evening, Noah and Lucas received the “Rising Star” award at the Challenged Athletes Foundation Celebration of Abilities Dinner at Qualcomm Theater. Bob Babbitt asked Noah how he feels when he races with Lucas. His answer: “I feel good because Lucas knows I am doing it for him!”
Finally, the big race day arrived! The boys were excited and ready to race. The air was buzzing with excitement as all the kids lined up.
As we approach the wonderful holiday of Thanksgiving, we have a lot to be very thankful for this year. We are thankful for our journey as a family. It has not always been easy, but being open to possibilities and not shutting Lucas off from the world has opened up adventures and experiences we never would have dreamed possible. Thank you for being a part of our lives and adventures. May you all live each day in the present and live life to the fullest!
For an extra dose of inspiration, please check out the CAF #BestDayInTri video!
The evening started with a silent auction and a chance for people to connect.
The program was hosted by the Today Show hosts Natalie Morales and Willie Geist.
The event started with Mix Master Mike, a wonderful dance performance by Dancing with the Stars’ fan favorite Amy Purdy, and a song by Challenged Athlete Breezy Bochenek.
After dinner, the program began with an introduction of the honoree Byron Roth by gala Chairman Scott Stackman. Both Scott and Byron delivered inspiring messages. Next our friend and CAF spokesman Willie Stewart introduced Noah and Lucas. It was such an honor to have Willie introduce them as he was one of the first people they met before starting their triathlon adventures. He shared his experience of losing his arm at age 18 during a construction accident as well as a healthy dose of entertainment and encouragement. Because of his unique journey and passion for the inclusion of people with all types of disabilities in sporting events, he saw the possibilities and encouraged the boys in the sport of triathlon.
After Willie’s inspirational introduction, they showed the boys video and story:
The Aldrich family took the stage and Noah delivered an inspiring message:
“I LOVE DOING TRIATHLONS WITH LUCAS.
I LIKE EVERYTHING ABOUT HIM.
If you haven’t taken the opportunity, please visit the Challenged Athlete Foundation website and find out about all the wonderful programs they have that support challenged athletes all across the world. Also, if you want an extra dose of inspiration, check out their YouTube channel.
May your day be bright and full of possibilities. With love, the impossible becomes possible!
On May 3 2015, Noah and Lucas, aka the “Triathlon Brothers” had the opportunity of a lifetime to compete in their 5th triathlon together as brothers in the Spring Sprint triathlon in San Diego for Challenged Athletes Foundation. The boys trained all winter and were ready to get outside, race and have fun! Noah and Lucas truly love racing together in triathlons. As a parent, it has been incredible to watch how triathlons have brought the brothers closer and given each of them unique gifts. Noah’s confidence has soared and Lucas has displayed new levels of expression and communication. Lucas’s smile during and after a race says it all. He knows he is part of something very special. Beyond the boys, we have received an outpouring of encouragement worldwide and we are so proud the boys have shared their message of love with the world.
During the race in San Diego, the boys had several positive interactions with spectators and volunteers. People cheered and shouted the kindest words of encouragement. Noah told me that a woman came up to him and said, “You’re my hero!” There were so many kind moments however; one in particular, really impacted us. Sometime during the event, a grandmother came up to my father and told him that her grandchild just received a devastating diagnosis. Their family was in a deep state of mourning.
I was instantly taken back to the day of Lucas’s diagnosis. When Lucas was three months old, we sensed something was wrong. The test result came back and we found out that Lucas had a severe brain malformation. The doctor told us that Lucas would never live a “normal” life and he would face many challenges. I’m not sure how we kept it together through the appointment, but when we left the office, our hearts were broken, dreams were shattered, and there was an unending river of tears. I knew exactly how that grandmother and family must be feeling. In one instant, all your hopes and dreams change. The uncertainty of the future is overwhelming.
Our road has been filled with plenty of challenges and heartache, but it has also been filled with family memories and love. The diagnosis was just the beginning to open our hearts and lives to a unique and amazing new journey. The grandmother told my dad that seeing the boys out there gave her hope that even though there would be challenges, something beautiful could come from it. She told him seeing the boys competing in triathlons made her realize that her grandchild would be able to experience life too.
Life is different that we first expected, but it is more than we could have ever imagined. I could have never dreamed that Noah and Lucas would compete in triathlons seven years ago when we received Lucas’s diagnosis in the doctor’s office. Not only did the boys compete in the triathlon in San Diego, they started the race at the same time with all of the other kids. Noah and Lucas were not pushed aside and put in a different race; they were in the main race. Noah and Lucas have such a powerful message to share. Let’s embrace each day with love, acceptance and possibilities. It is a beautiful journey!