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Teenager carries brother on back 40 miles for cerebral palsy awareness


It's official: Hunter Gandee is the best big brother in the world. Over the weekend, the 14-year-old walked 40 miles to bring attention to cerebral palsy, all while carrying his little brother, 7-year-old Braden, on his back.

Hunter wanted his peers to get a better understanding of cerebral palsy, which affects Braden's muscle tone, reflexes, and motor coordination, reports The Ann Arbor News. Hunter sold wristbands for Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month, raising $350, and then planned the walk from Bedford Junior High to the University of Michigan's Bahna Wrestling Center. Both Hunter and Braden are big wrestling fans, and their mom, Danielle, thought it "seemed to be the perfect distance."

The walk was split between two days, with Hunter trekking 25 miles on Saturday and 15 on Sunday. Hunter knew the journey wouldn't be easy — at one point Braden started to get bad chafing on his legs — but the two kept going. They were never alone, accompanied by their parents, siblings, friends, members of the community, and a University of Michigan wrestler. "This is what [Hunter] wanted to do," Danielle said. "I knew he'd do it, and I had faith in him the entire time."

A large crowd was on hand to greet Hunter, Braden, and their entourage once they reached their final destination. "Proud isn't even really a word I could use; it's way beyond that," says Sam Gandee, their father. "To me, it's one of those things that can make a difference in the world... they've reached so many people. It's way more than I have done in my life." --Catherine Garcia