You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Teen finishes 40-mile walk while carrying brother


 

A Michigan teenager who wanted to raise awareness about cerebral palsy by walking 40 miles with his younger brother strapped to his back battled heat, rain, fatigue and more to finish the trek Sunday.

Hunter Gandee, 14, had been planning for weeks to pull off the walk, hoping to put a face on the muscular disorder that prevents his 7-year-old sibling, Braden, from being able to walk without help. But all his organizing couldn't prepare him for the conditions he faced as he packed the 50-pound boy over two days.

He even thought about giving up along the way.

"Honestly, yes, there was a point that we did consider stopping," Hunter said. "Braden's legs — the chafing was getting pretty bad. We did have to consider stopping. It was at about the 30-mile point."

A phone call changed all that.

Hunter reached out to a friend, who said a prayer for the brothers. That, 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.

It may have taken a bit longer than they anticipated, but the Gandees 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.

At the top of the hill, Hunter lifted up Braden so he could touch a "Go Blue" banner erected for them near the walk's endpoint. The move was met with thunderous applause and cheers from those who had gathered to see the boys finish the trek.

Asked how he felt, Braden replied simply: "Tired."

Hunter said he was "more tired than I think I've ever been. My legs are pretty sore. But we pushed through it. And we're here."

More than 30 hours earlier, Hunter, with Braden securely strapped to his back, left the parking lot of Bedford Junior High in Temperance near the Ohio border. Just before their Saturday morning departure, well-wishers packed the gym for a send-off and the school band performed.

The boys' parents and two other siblings accompanied them on the walk. A caravan of cars and other walkers also joined in.

The goal of the walk, called the Cerebral Palsy Swagger, was to raise awareness about cerebral palsy and hopefully inspire new ideas for mobility aides and medical procedures.

Braden typically uses a walker, braces or a power chair to get around.

Hunter, a 155-pound wrestler, said he trained for the trek by lifting weights and staying active. And by checking the weather forecast.

Saturday was warm and sunny, but Sunday was cool and rainy. The boys were prepared, though, and packed a variety of outerwear.

By the time Sunday afternoon arrived, the rain had subsided and they completed their triumphant march into Ann Arbor under sunny skies.

For Hunter, the walk was about doing something for his brother.

"I can't even describe to you how special (Braden) is to me. I can't put it into words," the teen said. "He's awesome. He's always there for me. I really just wanted to give back to him in some way."

Copyright The Associated Press



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation World

83-year old allegedly steals ambulance, drives home
83-year old allegedly steals ambulance, drives home

An 83-year-old New York man checked himself out of a hospital in the middle of the night Tuesday and then allegedly stole an ambulance to get home, WNBC reported. Donald Winkler of Merrick reportedly was unhappy with the treatment he had received after being admitted to Nassau University Medical Center last week, so at 1 a.m. Tuesday he checked...
Man shot, killed on Linden Ave. in Springfield
Man shot, killed on Linden Ave. in Springfield

Springfield police confirm a man has died at the scene of a shooting on Linden Avenue.  Additional details were not available.  A man has reportedly suffered multiple gunshot wounds in the 1300 block of Linden Avenue in Springfield early Friday morning.  Police and medics were dispatched around 2:10 a.m. on initial reports of up to 30...
More millenials live with parents in S. Florida than anywhere else
More millenials live with parents in S. Florida than anywhere else

A new study suggests that millennials in South Florida live with their parents at a higher rate than anywhere else in the country. >> Read more trending news  The study conducted by Abodo found that 44.8 percent of millennials in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach area still live with their parents. That’s the highest percentage...
Fire destroys North Dakota church owned by white supremacist 
Fire destroys North Dakota church owned by white supremacist 

A North Dakota church recently bought by a self-proclaimed white supremacist has burned to the ground, KVRR reported. >> Read more trending news  The Attorney General’s office said there isn’t any new information to release, but Craig Cobb said he knows the fire was set intentionally and believes it was a hate crime. &ldquo...
Springfield native builds center to house, teach children overseas
Springfield native builds center to house, teach children overseas

Springfield native Meredith Wood-Docena was still a student at Cedarville University when she began travelling to the Philippines over the summer for missionary work. Her experiences on those trips would eventually lead to the founding of Obed’s House Ministries in 2013 that aims to help children living on the streets. Wood-Docena is now a resident...
More Stories