Stateside
4:41 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

The long piggy-back ride for cerebral palsy awareness

Credit The Cerebral Palsy Swagger / Facebook

To say it was a story that captured the hearts of the world is no exaggeration.

Fourteen-year-old Hunter Gandee was searching for a way to call attention to cerebral palsy and its challenges because he’d seen his little brother, Braden living with it for all of his seven years.

Hunter carried his brother on his back for 40 miles, from their hometown in Temperance, Michigan to the University of Michigan Wrestling Center. They called it the Cerebral Palsy Swagger.

The trip was not easy for Hunter, but he said it wasn’t easy for his younger brother either, who suffered chafing on his inner thighs from being carried.

“We weren’t sure if we were going to make it,” Hunter said. He said the plan was to push Braden in a stroller, but fortunately they didn’t have to.

“We called a few friends and I had a friend pray for me over the phone,” Hunter said.

They also had input from a therapist and physical therapist on how to fix Braden’s sling. After the help, the journey was much easier.

Braden and Hunter’s mother said the real story is not what the boys did, but the people who helped along the way.

“If Hunter would have walked and nobody paid attention, it wouldn’t have made a difference,” Danielle Gandee said. “It’s everybody else that paid attention and wanted to hear more and wanted to learn more that actually made it a story.”

Hunter is now fighting to get Braden's school playground completely reconstructed so that he can play with his friends.  Hunter also said he wants to study biomedical engineering at the University of Michigan and build mobility aids for people with CP or other disabilities.

You can follow Hunter’s effort on the Facebook page the Cerebral Palsy Swagger, or you can follow their blog.

*Listen to full story above.