There was only one thing that could get Rick Van Beek of Midland, Michigan, to finally quit smoking and get in shape: his daughter, Maddy, who is unable to walk or talk due to cerebral palsy. Van Beek isn’t even sure that Maddy can see, yet he’s ensured that the now 13-year-old is living an active life.
Van Beek told the Midland Daily News that the one thing he knows Maddy enjoys is being outdoors. Since 2008, father and daughter have competed in more than 70 half-marathons, triathlons, and other races. Van Beek pushes or pulls Maddy in a specially-designed stroller, and sometimes carries her. Their presence has inspired the many who witness this act of love.
Van Beek told Fox News, “Maddy has changed more peoples’ lives than I even know about without doing anything, just being out there.” The devoted father now hopes to start a charity that will build equipment for special needs children.
Some might look at Maddy and see only what she lacks. Van Beek sees her through the life-changing eyes of love, and knows she is a blessing.
[Be] rooted and grounded in love. (Ephesians 3:17)
Inspire me to practice a higher quality of love, Lord.