Hunter Gandee carried his brother 57 miles on his back. Hunter and Braden Gandee started the Cerebral Palsy Swagger last year to raise awareness about the illness. Hunter, 15, carried Braden, 8, 17 miles further on his back this year than he did during the trek they completed last year.
Braden and Hunter Gandee began the walk from the Douglas Road Elementary School on Friday and completed the 57-mile long journey on Sunday at the University of Michigan Pediatric Rehabilitation Center. A cheering crowd eagerly awaited the arrival of the boy carrying his brother on his back.
Some gathered to cheer the arrival of Hunter and Braden Gandee, and were reportedly moved to tears as the brothers crossed the finish line. Maureen Kijek is the parent of a child with Cerebral Palsy and was present for the arrival of the Gandee brothers. Kijek’s son, Andrew, 14, accompanied her to the Cerebral Palsy Swagger event.
“When I first heard about this last year, I immediately started crying,” Kijek said. “As a parent [of a child with cerebral palsy] you feel alone so often. It’s nice to see a community come together in support.”
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Michigan teen Hunter Gandee walked 40 miles carrying his brother, Braden, strapped to his back in 2014. During the second Cerebral Palsy Swagger walk, Hunter and Braden Gandee said they were committed once again to raising awareness about Cerebral Palsy and doing their part to offer help to those in need. The Gandee family has helped to raise about $200,000 so far. The funds will reportedly be used to build an accessible playground in their hometown.
— Montel Williams (@Montel_Williams) June 8, 2015
Some of the parents of children with Cerebral Palsy gathered at the finish line told the media they hope the efforts of Hunter and Braden Gandee help “clear up misunderstandings” people may have about the condition. Elaina Bell said that Cerebral Palsy comes in “many different forms” and there is no need to “shy away” from children or adults with the condition.
— Jake Herbert (@Jakeherbert84) June 8, 2015
Brian Hagler, of Lansing, said people with Cerebral Palsy, like his son, Christopher, are not very different from anyone else.
“There’s nothing wrong with him. He just has a different challenge than everyone else,” Hagler said.
Hunter and Braden Gandee’s mother, Danielle Gandee, said that initially the family did not know very much about Cerebral Palsy, especially the limited mobility issues associated with the condition. She hopes that the Cerebral Palsy awareness increases due to the efforts of her son.
[Image via Twitter]