A teenager from Michigan who wanted to raise awareness about cerebral palsy achieved his goal over the weekend by carrying his younger brother on his back for 40 miles in spite of rain, heat and fatigue.
14-year-old Hunter Gandee had planned the walk he called the Cerebral Palsy Swagger for weeks in hopes of bringing about attention to the muscular disorder that keeps his 7-year-old brother Braden from being able to walk without assistance.
Supporters live tweeted the trek from Bedford Junior High School in Temperance, Michigan to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. While doing so they shared information about CP via the official Twitter and Facebook pages set up for the event. Dave Mustaine of Megadeth and the Detroit Tigers both donated to the cause.
The journey turned out to be more arduous than either Hunter or Braden expected and at one point they considered stopping:
“Honestly, yes, there was a point that we did consider stopping. Braden’s legs — the chafing was getting pretty bad. We did have to consider stopping. It was at about the 30-mile point.”
Hunter dialed up a friend who said a prayer for the brothers. This, along with a bit of rest and the repositioning of how Braden was resting on Hunter’s back helped the duo finish out the final 10 miles.
Hunter is a wrestler and he prepared for the walk by lifting weights, staying active and keeping an eye on the weather. He was joined by his parents and a caravan of cars and other walkers during the journey.
While checking out the Swagger’s Facebook page I came across this comment that highlights what a success Hunter’s idea was:
Ashley Burnside: I have cerebral palsy, and to see fliers on my way to work that say “cerebral palsy swagger” and hear news stations talking about my disability and ways to make the world more accessible for the first time is more meaningful than I can express. Hunter, thank you for what you are doing. You CAN do this. If my CP has taught me anything, it’s that our bodies can sometimes exceed all of our expectations.
To find out more about CP and how you can help we encourage you to visit UCP here.
Top Photo: Twitter