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!