TIME Developmental Disorders

Michigan Teen Carries Brother 40 Miles for Cerebral Palsy Awareness

Brotherly Walk
Braden Gandee, 7, rides on the back of his brother Hunter, 14, as they close in on the final miles to the University of Michigan's Bahna Wrestling Center on Sunday, June 8, 2014. Hunter carried Braden, who has cerebral palsy, 40 miles from Temperance, Mich., to Ann Arbor. Chris Asadian—AP Photo

Valiant 14-year-old Hunter Gandee carried his 7-year-old brother Braden strapped on his back for 30 hours to urge engineers to invest in innovative tools for increased mobility

A Michigan teen trekked 40 miles with his 7-year-old brother on his back to raise awareness of cerebral palsy, the cerebellar degenerative disorder that prevents his sibling from walking himself.

Hunter Gandee, 14, braved blustery conditions during the two-day hike from his hometown of Temperance, Mich., to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. His brother Braden has struggled with cerebral palsy his entire life. Hunter told ABC that although he wrestles in 100-degree conditions at Bedford Junior High, “it’s nowhere near how hard Braden works.”

The teenager originally concocted the idea after raising $350 in green wristbands for cerebral palsy awareness month at his school. Afterward he wanted his efforts to reach beyond his classmates. “We want kids to understand Braden,” Hunter told MLive.

He was further inspired by a dream that his mother had of him carrying Braden to Mackinac, Mich., where the family had often vacationed. This led to two months of preparation for carrying his 50-lb. brother on his back.

The courageous duo were joined by other family members for the final portion of the journey, which nearly ended early because Braden’s legs were badly chafing. But after a brief rest-stop and repositioning Braden, the brothers completed the mission in 30 hours.

“We pushed through it,” an exhausted Hunter told ABC. “And we’re here.”

On the walk’s Facebook page, the Gandees express hope that the walk will earn the attention of engineers and doctors for “the need for innovative ideas in mobility aids and medical procedures.”

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