A Michigan teen completed a 40-mile, two-day journey on Sunday with his younger brother strapped to his back to help raise awareness about cerebral palsy.
Hunter Gandee, 14, began carrying his 50-pound brother, Braden, who has cerebral palsy, on Saturday morning and walked from a junior high school in Temperance, Mich., to the University of Michigan’s Bahna Wrestling Center in Ann Arbor. Braden’s neurological disorder prevents him from walking on his own; he uses a walker, braces or a power chair to get around, the Associated Press reports.
“One night my mother had a dream about me carrying Braden from our house to Mackinac [Island, Michigan],” Hunter told MLive.com. That is where the idea for the walk, which they dubbed the Cerebral Palsy Swagger, originated.
With the support of their family, friends and other members of the community, they walked 25 miles on Saturday and 15 on Sunday, MLive reports.
(Photo via Twitter/The Toledo Blade)
Hunter, a 155-pound wrestler, said he prepared for the trek by lifting weights and staying active. But during the walk, he almost gave up when he was just 10 miles from the finish line.
“There was a point where the chafing on Braden’s legs did get too bad, but we switched some things around and tried out a sling in a different way. And then I actually called one of my friends and he prayed with us. I think all of that combined helped us push through,” Hunter said.
They were met with applause and cheers from onlookers when they arrived at the University of Michigan.
"I knew he'd do it, and I had faith in him the entire time," says Hunter's mother, Danielle.
Hunter then lifted Braden up so he could touch the “Go Blue” banner created in their honor.
(Photo via Twitter/Bedford Mules)
"Proud isn't even really a word I could use; it's way beyond that," the boys' father, Sam, said. "To me, it's one of those things that can make a difference in the world.”