Friday, June 13, 2014

Teen Carries Brother 40 Miles for CP Awareness

Earlier this week, brother duo Braden and Hunter Gandee completed a 40 mile walk in the hopes of raising cerebral palsy awareness. Braden, who is seven years old, has cerebral palsy; Hunter, 14, carried him on his back the entire 40 miles.

They left from Bedford Junior High School in Temperance, Michigan on June 7th and, after an overnight stop, arrived at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Of course, the brothers were joined by a slew of supportive friends and family.

The walk was dubbed the Cerebral Palsy Swagger and was solely for the purpose of raising awareness about cerebral palsy and putting a face to the condition. However, that hasn't stopped people from showing their financial support on top of everything else. The Gandees have asked those who want to donate to go to the University of Michigan Cerebral Palsy Research Program.

“We've gotten contacted by the lead singer of Megadeath, and he's supporting us and donating,” says Hunter, who decided to put on the walk to show the next generation of researchers, engineers, and leaders that there is a need for progress regarding medical procedures and mobility devices. “We've gotten contacted by the Detroit Tigers, and they're on board and supporting us. Whole bunches of different people.”

Braden cannot walk on his own and usually gets around with a power chair, braces, or a walker. Last weekend, however, the 50-pound boy got a different view strapped to his brother's back. To help prepare for the trek, Hunter stayed active and lifted weights. But Braden also served as a huge source of strength.

“Whenever I'm going through something that's difficult and doing something that's hard, I see him and how he worked through it, and it just kind of pushes me through,” he says.

As for Braden, he knew he and Hunter would have no problems:

“My brother is awesome.”

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