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article image'He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother'- 14yo carries 7yo brother 65 km

By Jeannie Stokowski-Bisanti     Jun 9, 2014 in Health
A 14-year-old Michigan teenager raised awareness about cerebral palsy by walking 65 kilometers or 40 miles with his seven-year-old brother strapped to his back. Hunter Gandee carried Braden, who has cerebral palsy from Bedford to Ann Arbor.
Braden normally uses a walker, braces or a power chair to get around.
The walk, called the Cerebral Palsy Swagger, was held to raise awareness about cerebral palsy and hopefully inspire new ideas for mobility aides and medical procedures. For Hunter, however, the walk was about doing something for his brother.
Hunter, a 155-pound wrestler, trained for the trek by lifting weights, staying active, and by checking the weather forecast. He planned for weeks to pull off the walk, hoping to put a face on the muscular disorder that prevents his seven-year-old sibling, Braden, from being able to walk without help. He battled heat, rain, fatigue and more to finish the walk on Sunday.
Hunter packed the 50-pound Braden for more than 30 hours and even thought about giving up along the way. Prayer combined with some rest and a change in how Braden was positioned on his brother's back, helped the boys make it the final 10 miles.
The boys' parents and two other siblings came with them on the walk. A caravan of cars and other walkers also participated. It may have taken the Gandees longer than they anticipated, but the boys and more than a dozen of their family members and friends strolled up a winding road Sunday toward the University of Michigan's wrestling center.
Hunter lifted up Braden at the top of the hill so he could touch a "Go Blue" banner erected for them near the end of the walk. That action was met with a thunderous applause and cheers from spectators gathered to see the brothers finish the trek.
"He ain't heavy, he's my brother
So on we go
His welfare is of my concern
No burden is he to bear
We'll get there" - "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" was written by Marcus Congleton.
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