Hunter Gandee (age 14) and Braden (age 7) are brothers, but more than that they are the best of friends.
Braden has cerebral palsy, a muscular disorder, and is unable to walk without assistance. He needs braces, a walker, or a power chair to get around. But Saturday, June 7, Braden had something better than any of that... a piggyback ride from his big brother.
Hunter carried his brother 40 miles on a two-day hike from a school in Temperance, near the Ohio border, to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The walk was dubbed the "Cerebral Palsy Swagger" and was intended to try to raise awareness of the issue of this debilitating disease.
The second morning of the walk was a little rainy. However, this did not stop the brothers from continuing their trek. The boys' parents and two other siblings accompanied them on the walk, and several other people joined in as well.
Did Hunter ever feel like quitting? Yes, one time, at about the 30-mile mark. But after a prayer with a friend, a short rest, and a shift of Braden's position on his back, Hunter found the strength to finish the remaining 10 miles.
The brothers enjoyed the special time together. "I can't even describe to you how special (Braden) is to me," Hunter said. "He's always there for me. I really just wanted to give back to him in some way."