Hunter Gandee is carrying his disabled brother 57 miles for cerebral palsy awareness. Hunter, 15, carried his brother Braden, 8, a total of 17 miles longer than he did during a similar trek to highlight the condition of his sibling last year.
The Michigan teen walked 40 miles carrying his brother, Braden, strapped to his back in 2014. During the second annual Cerebral Palsy Swagger, the brothers said they wanted to once again raise awareness and bring help to those who needed it most. To date, Hunter Gandee and his family have helped to raise about $200,000 — the funds will reportedly be used to build an accessible playground in their hometown.
Hunter Gandee was one of the middle school and high school honorees who traveled to Washington D.C. last month to receive “The Prudential Spirit of Community Award.” The teens were recognized for their contributions in non-profit agencies in their communities. A total of 50 teens were honored with just 10 being chosen as national honorees — Hunter was selected as one of the national award winners.
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Gandee is an avid wrestler and baseball player at his Michigan high school. Last year during the Cerebral Palsy Swagger walk, he suffered back and leg cramping. Even though he was well aware of the physical pain he would likely endure while carrying his brother on his back this year, he still chose to add miles to his walk.
Braden Gandee is currently preparing to undergo surgery, which may give him an increased range of motion and bodily comfort. Danielle Gandee, the boys’ mother, noted that the cerebral palsy surgery is not without risk.
“We have never done any type of surgeries for Braden. We have tried to stay away from them as long as possible. Botox injections have been the only thing we have done outside physical therapy, but his nerves are over-firing so much, and his body squeezes so much, it doesn’t let his muscles grow at the same rate of his bones. It could cause leg deformities, actually bowing of his legs if we don’t do anything.”
Hunter and Braden Gandee started the first mile of their cerebral palsy awareness walk on Friday. Their journey ends today in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan Pediatric Rehabilitation Center.
[Image via: Twitter]