#BroncosInTheCommunity: Aldrich Family
Dec. 18, 2015

As our more than 450 student-athletes turn their focus to finishing the fall 2015 semester during finals week, Boise State Athletics wants to honor their achievements off the field by focusing on the work they have done throughout the community since starting the school year. Each day this week, BroncoSports.com will highlight one of the many examples of Broncos giving back to the community that gives so much to them and the athletic department. While their accomplishments in their respective field of play are what garners the most attention, the work done beyond athletics - both in school and in the community - makes us proud every day. Good luck during finals week to all of our student-athletes.

Boise State junior Nick Duncan is known for giving opponents nightmares with the mismatches he creates on the floor. Off the court, Duncan knows a dream matchup when he sees it.

An opportunity was presented to the Boise State Student-Athlete Advisory committee in the fall of 2014 for one of the Bronco programs to adopt the Aldrich Family. Duncan, a men's basketball representative on SAAC for the past two seasons, jumped all over it.

"I knew immediately that we wanted to work with these guys," Duncan said. "Once we looked into it even more and learned more about Lucas and Noah, we learned how special their lives were. It also became really obvious that it was something that would be great for everyone involved. We've adopted them as part of the team."

Lucas Aldrich was born with a rare brain malformation called lissencephaly. A disorder that occurs in approximately one of 85,470 births, lissencephaly causes serious health problems, including seizures. An MRI at three months old revealed the malformation in Lucas' brain. Doctors said he would be non-verbal and would spend his life in a wheelchair.

Now eight, Lucas may not be able to talk but his communication is clear, especially when he's around the Broncos.

"Lucas has loved every minute of the time with the team," said his brother Noah Aldrich. "The look on his face when he peers up to see the tall players is priceless. He loves watching them play and also really enjoyed when they came to our triathlon this summer."

That's right. Triathlon.

Nine-year-old Noah Aldrich told his parents during the summer of 2014 he wanted to compete in a triathlon- and he wanted Lucas to do it with him. After weeks of training, on July 12, 2014, Noah and Lucas completed the Y Not Tri hosted by the Treasure Valley Family YMCA. Noah swam 200 meters with a harness around his chest attached to an inflatable raft holding Lucas. He biked three miles pulling Lucas in a trailer. He ran one mile pushing Lucas in a custom buggy, completing their first triathlon to a resounding ovation from event organizers and fellow competitors.

The astonishing scene at the finish line was just the beginning for Noah and Lucas, now better known as the Triathlon Brothers.

"It gives us motivation and a means to keep going when we get tired and when things get tough. Noah's out there pushing his brother in triathlons and we're just playing basketball. Seeing those two fight through their battles is added motivation when it gets tough out on the court."

Their story has been featured worldwide, including an appearance on the TODAY Show. They have competed at numerous triathlons and outdoor sports competitions across the country the past two summers. This October, the brothers were presented the Rising Star Award at the Challenged Athletes Foundation Celebration of Abilities in San Diego.

"It's really good for our team to see people out in our community who are doing great things and living life to the fullest," Duncan said. "It gives us motivation and a means to keep going when we get tired and when things get tough. Noah's out there pushing his brother in triathlons and we're just playing basketball. Seeing those two fight through their battles is added motivation when it gets tough out on the court."

Boise State was connected with the Aldrich Family through Team IMPACT, a nonprofit organization that pairs children who have life-threatening and chronic illnesses with college athletic teams in their area. Team IMPACT (Inspire, Motivate and Play Against Challenges Together) has matched 826 kids with 308 schools across 45 states.

The chance to work with Team IMPACT and specifically the Aldrich Family is in line with what Duncan envisioned for himself, his teammates and the athletic department when he joined SAAC. What the bond has blossomed into exceeded even his greatest hopes.

"You always want to try and give back to others in the community," Duncan said, "but I don't think that when we got involved with this we anticipated getting this close to the family. We've made a great relationship with Lucas and Noah and their parents and we want to make sure it continues."

The Triathlon Brothers and their parents are thrilled to have the support of Boise State and an ever-growing connection with the basketball student-athletes and program.

"We are so grateful to be a part of Team Impact and the Boise State basketball team," said Brian and Alissa Aldrich, Noah and Lucas' parents. "We are building memories of a lifetime. We are so thankful for all of the interactions with the team on campus and away! Lucas' face lit up when the guys came to the hospital."

The Broncos as an entire department gave back more than 1,500 hours of community service during the fall semester. With final exams winding down, Boise State Athletics would like to wish all of Bronco Nation a happy holiday season. We look forward to getting out in the community again in the spring semester as we continue to show our gratitude for how much you give us.

"I'm on the front line as a member of the SAAC group and that's one of our pledges," said Duncan. "Putting hours back into the community. It's been evident throughout Boise State Athletics. It's been a focal point for us. The whole Boise State family does it from their heart and because they want to give back."

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