ANN ARBOR, Mich. – A Michigan teenager who wanted to raise awareness about cerebral palsy by walking 40 miles with his younger brother strapped to his back battled heat, rain, fatigue and more to finish the trek Sunday.
Hunter Gandee, 14, had been planning for weeks to pull off the walk, hoping to put a face on the muscular disorder that prevents his 7-year-old sibling, Braden, from being able to walk without help. But all his organizing couldn’t prepare him for the conditions he faced as he packed the 50-pound boy over two days.
It may have taken a bit longer than they anticipated, but the Gandees and more than a dozen of their family members and friends strolled up a winding road Sunday toward the University of Michigan’s wrestling center.
Asked how he felt, Braden replied simply: “Tired.”
More than 30 hours earlier, Hunter, with Braden securely strapped to his back, left the parking lot of Bedford Junior High in Temperance near the Ohio border.
The goal of the walk, called the Cerebral Palsy Swagger, was to raise awareness about cerebral palsy and hopefully inspire new ideas for mobility aides and medical procedures.