Hes not heavy; hes my brother
A 14-year-old boy set out on a 40-mile trek on Saturday. On his back was his 7-year-old brother.
The younger boy was strapped to his brother's back. They hope to raise awareness about the condition that prevents the younger boy from being able to walk without help.
Hunter Gandee, with 50-pound Braden strapped to his back, left from the parking lot of Bedford Junior High. They arrived Sunday at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Surrounding the Gandees were supporters who released balloons into the sky.
The walk was for the Cerebral Palsy Swagger. The goal is to raise awareness for the muscle disorder that afflicts Braden. Organizers of the event want to show the face of cerebral palsy to professionals. Hopefully, they will see 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 wristbands at his school.
Braden typically uses a walker, braces or a power chair to get around. On Saturday morning, the boy was all smiles from his position perched on his big brother's back.
Hunter, a 155-pound wrestler, said he trained by lifting weights. Braden had faith that Hunter would get them to Ann Arbor.
"My brother," he said, "is awesome."
Critical thinking challenge: How might Hunters walk help Braden right away, and in the future?