A Michigan teen chose not to spend his weekend hanging out with friends or playing video games — instead, he walked 40 miles with his younger brother strapped to his back.
Hunter Gandee carried his 7-year-old brother, Braden Bedford Jr., during a walk on Sunday to raise awareness for cerebral palsy. The condition prevents Braden from walking on his own; he typically uses a walker, braces or a power chair.
Hunter dubbed the highway hike the Cerebral Palsy Swagger, which he said he started because he already carries his brother around so much. The boys were joined by more than a dozen family members and friends on Sunday.
Hunter, a 155-pound wrestler, said he prepared for the trek by lifting weights. But during the walk, the boys met a roadblock that almost ended the journey with just 10 miles to go.
“There was a point where the chafing on Braden’s legs did get too bad, but we switched some things around ... And then I actually called one of my friends and he prayed with us. I think all of that combined helped us push through,” Hunter told The Ann Arbor News.
Hunter said everyone's support also helped them cross the finish line.
When the boys arrived at their destination, the University of Michigan, they were met with applause and cheers from onlookers. Hunter then hoisted the 45-pound Braden in the air so he could touch the “Go Blue” banner made in their honor.
"Proud isn't even really a word I could use; it's way beyond that," the boys' father, Sam Gandee,said . "To me, it's one of those things that can make a difference in the world."