Rick van Beek goes the distance to see his daughter smile
What can a parent do to make sure their kid is happy? When Rick Van Beek found out that his daughter Madison had Cerebral Palsy, his world came crashing down. However, he did not let the disease dictate terms to Madison’s life. Beek soon realised that his daughter enjoyed outdoor activities. Madison showed keen interest in taking part in a triathlon. It was a tough task for Beek who was a heavy smoker at the time to undergo strenuous training in order to prepare for the event.
His love for Madison overcame all that as he quit smoking and started training for what seemed a gruelling endeavour. 'Shortly after that day I gave up smoking 2 packs a day and chewing a tin a day to be better, for Maddy. It has been a long road, with many bumps, but we are better, he said.
Madison cannot walk and talk and cannot be part of the triathlon alone. Beek carries her all the way from start to the finish line. Beek and Madison are known as ‘Team Maddy’ and the pair have participated in more than 70 events including half marathons, outdoor races and triathlons.
For the water portion of the triathlon, Beek puts his daughter in a kayak and then pulls her behind him in a cart.
'She functions like a three-month-old, and one of the very few things that we know she enjoys is being outside, being in the water, feeling the breeze in her hair and in her face,' he said. He admits that there is nothing that gives him more happiness than seeing his daughter smile. It has been a life changing experience for Beek as well who until seven years ago wasn’t the most active bloke on the planet. However, fulfilling his daughter’s dream was on top of the priority list for Beek.
He aptly sums his love for her: “She’s my heart and I’m her legs.”
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