This past weekend wasn’t like the others for Hunter Gandee, 15, a brave teenager from Michigan. Instead of relaxing, he chose to do 57 miles walk while carrying his younger brother, Braden, 8, in a harness on his back.
According to Michigan Live, Hunter’s ultimate target is to raise awareness about cerebral palsy, which is why this is already the second annual “Cerebral Palsy Swagger” walk the Gandees have performed.
Even though Hunter direct purpose is not to raise money but to meet with people along the walk and talk to them about the neurological disorder his brother has, their first Swagger raised around $200,000. This fund went toward creating a playground at Braden’s school, but specially designed for children with special needs.
Friday morning saw the Gandees leaving Douglas Road Elementary School in Lambertville with the University of Michigan’s Pediatric Rehabilitation Center in Ann Arbor as their destination. The community was very engaged, as supporters of the Gangees cause welcomed them with 57 blue and gold balloons.
Danielle Gandee, the boys’ mother, is very proud of both of them, even though their feat proved to be very exhausting. Hunter also told the Associated Press the hike has left him quite sore.
Last year, the inaugural Swagger walk measured 40 miles, but Hunter wanted to increase the distance so he was be able to reach and talk to more people. The flier raising awareness for the event and the disorder states the ultimate goal of the walk is to show innovators and engineers the sheer need of creating truly accessible world for all.
Facebook attracted more than 9,000 users who supported the Gandees’ walk by following it through regular updates. All the way, the family posted statuses and pictures, talking about hotel stays overnight, blistered feet, and focused determination.
The Swagger had many people joining for short stretches, such as the local fire and sheriff’s department; a lot of Hunter and Braden’s friends supported the cause by wearing superhero T-shirts for the duration of the walk.
The Gandees’ awareness campaign is far from over, as they created a GoFundMe page, trying to get the school playground to be called the “CP Swagger Shipyard.” And we might see them again next year, with even more supporters raising public awareness of cerebral palsy.
This neurological disorder affects around two or three babies out of 1,000 only in the United States, making it one of the most common childhood disabilities. Children who suffer from it have various movement disorders affecting their coordination and muscles.
Image Source: Canada Journal