Michigan teen carries younger brother 40 miles on cerebral palsy awareness walk

By Amanda Holtzer,

Hunter Gandee carried his younger brother Braden on his back for 40 miles through difficult conditions to raise awareness about cerebral palsy on Sunday. Braden, 7, who suffers from cerebral palsy, was strapped to Hunter’s back for the entire trek and called the Cerebral Palsy Swagger.

Hunter, 14, is an eighth-grade wrestler at Bedford Junior High. He’s spent the last two months organizing this walk to raise awareness of the disease that hinders his younger brother’s life.

Hunter told Michigan Live, “One night my mother had a dream of me carrying Braden from our house to Mackinac. She shared the story with me, and we liked the general idea of it.”

The boys certainly did not expect to face such difficult conditions during the walk. They trekked through intense heat and downpour. Hunter felt extreme fatigue with his 50-pound brother strapped to his back for two days.

The boys were struggling, but did not give up. They reached out to a friend via telephone, who said a prayer for the brothers. They also rested and changed Braden’s positioning on Hunter’s back, and were able to push through the final 10 miles.

The boys’ parents and two other siblings joined them on the walk. Dozens of other walkers also joined in for parts of the walk.

The Detriot Free Press reports that Hunter said, “It really just brings me to a loss of words. I can’t explain to you guys how much this means to us.”

The boys pushed through the difficult conditions to achieve something extraordinary. Hunter is proud to have been able to do something for his younger brother, who means the world to him.



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