Hes not heavy; hes my brother Hunter Gandee holds his brother Braden in a harness. Hunter set out on a 40-mile trek with his brother strapped to his back
Hes not heavy; hes my brother
Lexile

A 14-year-old Michigan boy set out on a 40-mile trek on Saturday with his 7-year-old brother strapped to his back, hoping to raise awareness about the muscular condition that prevents the younger boy from being able to walk without help.

Hunter Gandee, with 50-pound Braden securely strapped to his back, left shortly after 8 a.m. from the parking lot of Bedford Junior High School in Temperance, which is near the Ohio border. They arrived Sunday at their destination, the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Surrounding the Gandees were dozens of family, friends and community members, many of whom released balloons into the sky as the walk commenced.

Called the Cerebral Palsy Swagger, the trek's goal is to raise awareness for the muscle disorder that afflicts Braden and to grab the attention of the next generation of leaders, doctors, engineers and entrepreneurs and show them the face of cerebral palsy and the need for new ideas in mobility aides and medical procedures.

The walk has already gained quite a bit of attention.

"We've gotten contacted by the lead singer of Megadeth, and he's supporting us and donating. We've gotten contacted by the Detroit Tigers, and they're on board and supporting us. Whole bunches of different people," Hunter said.

Even students from a rival middle school, Jefferson, raised $700.

The family is not asking for donations, but for those interested, they are being directed to the University of Michigan Cerebral Palsy Research Program. Hunter raised $350 for the program through the sale of green wristbands at his school in March.

Braden typically uses a walker, braces or a power chair to get around. On Saturday morning, the 50-pound boy was all smiles from his position perched on his big brother's back.

"Thank you guys for coming out. Thank you for your support. It means so much to us," Braden said from the stage during a pre-walk pep rally in the school gym.

Hunter, a 155-pound wrestler, said he trained by lifting weights and staying active. He predicted that the love and support he received at the rally and in the days and weeks preceding it will "push us through."

Braden, meanwhile, said he has faith that Hunter can get them to Ann Arbor.

"My brother is awesome," he said.

Critical thinking challenge: How might Hunters walk help Braden right away, and in the future?

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COMMENTS (24)
  • AP21Softball18
    6/09/2014 - 08:39 a.m.

    Hunter's walk can help Braden right away by showing him hope of being able to walk one day. To show him that one day soon there can be a cure. This can easily help in the future because they could soon be able find a cure and he can walk again.

  • jwClemmy0826
    6/09/2014 - 08:40 a.m.

    This is a good idea to raise awareness and it is great to see what siblings would do for one another if need be.

  • RMansaray123
    6/09/2014 - 08:41 a.m.

    Aw this is just so sweet. Absolutely adorable if you ask me. I can't imagine how it must have felt for Braden and his family. I mean this is incredible considering that they walked for such a cause. I've heard of many walks like the walks for breast cancer, or other disease, but somehow this walk seems to affect me more. Maybe it's the fact that Braden had a brother to help him in this cause and carry him to such distance. The power of brotherhood.

  • cm10red
    6/09/2014 - 08:42 a.m.

    I think it is really cool how all these people are doing this walk to help this boy's condition. It's great that sports teams, schools, etc are also raising money to help this cause. This walk is definitely getting people's attention. Awareness is a key factor in these kind of situations.

  • hs27Skye
    6/09/2014 - 12:58 p.m.

    Hunters walk will help his brother in the future because it could help him raise money and let more research be done and they could find a way to solve the problem or at least make it better.

  • NicoK-5
    6/09/2014 - 07:22 p.m.

    14 year old Hunter and his brother Braden set out on a 40 mile Trek. Braden suffers from Cerebral Palsy, so he can't walk on his own. Hunter strapped Braden to his back and went on the walk. The walk was to support the research of Cerebral Palsy. He helped raise hundreds of dollars.
    I think this is very inspiring. A boy my age walked 40 miles with his brother strapped to his back.

  • MaxA-3
    6/09/2014 - 11:58 p.m.

    This article is about a big brother named Hunter Brandee, walk 40 miles with his brother strapped to his back. He was doing this to raise awareness about cerebral palsy, a disease that affects his brother from walking normally without assistance. The walk ended with Braden and Hunter arriving at the University of Michigan. I found this article interesting because I had previously read about it on MSN.

  • TrevorC42
    6/10/2014 - 01:42 a.m.

    Wow I think it is so cool that his older brother is taking this giant of a leap to help out his little brother. It is also cool that he was able to raise that much money just by selling green wrist bands! If I was hunter I honestly don't think I would do that so I am definitely giving him props. I think it is so cool that a community is able to get that much funds to help the research I mean the wristbands and the rival school alone raised over 1000 dollars. I hope that one day they know of something that can fix this problem!

  • WS05YANKEES
    6/10/2014 - 08:38 a.m.

    I know i would never be able to do his. its great for the boy and his brother, and shows how much they love each other.

  • lk30pink
    6/10/2014 - 08:38 a.m.

    I think its amazing that they are doing this for a great cause. Its nice that his brother carried him on his back. It mustve been a great expierience. They should continue to raise money for this.

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