Teen starts 40-mile walk for cerebral palsy awareness

It's not every day someone just up and decides to take a 40-mile walk — that's a pretty long trek. But what if that someone was only 14 years old — and carrying their 7-year-old brother on their back for the entire journey? 

​Say hello to Hunter Gandee, who is doing just that. His walk from Temperance, Michigan to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, is being done in order to raise awareness for cerebral palsy, which his brother Braden has. (Via WTOL)

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke describes cerebral palsy as "any one of a number of neurological disorders that appear in infancy or early childhood and permanently affect body movement and muscle coordination."

Dubbed the "Cerebral Palsy Swagger," the walk has been in the planning stages for the last two months and is now underway. 

According to MLive.com, Hunter came up with the idea after his mom told him she had a dream of him carrying his brother from their house to Mackinac, a walk that would have been a little longer than the 40-mile trip to Ann Arbor. 

The walk's Facebook page posted that the goal of the walk is to "get the attention of our up and coming leaders, doctors, engineers, and entrepreneurs and show them the face of Cerebral Palsy and the need for innovative ideas in mobility aides and medical procedures."

And In an interview with ABC, Hunter explained that while wrestling is difficult for him in junior high, it's not even close to the challenges his little brother faces:

"I wrestle. It's ridiculously hard coming in this room for three months straight. It's 100 degrees in here, but it's nowhere near how hard Braden works." 

The two brothers left June 7 amid a crowd of supporters and plan to arrive at the University of Michigan at about 2 p.m the next day. A group of volunteers is accompanying them and their parents will be driving ahead of them to the various stops along the way. (Via WTVG)

Hunter spoke of the strong showing of support at his depature rally, saying:  

"I can’t explain to you guys how much this means to us. When we’re going through struggles during this walk and things get hard, it just really helps the support we’re getting. It’s going to push us through.” (Via Detroit Free Press)

A Twitter profile and blog will both keep those interested up to date on where the walk stops. A tweet from Monday showed the brothers at a Subway in Dundee, about 15 miles into their 40-mile goal. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 in 323 children are diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Each year, the month of March marks Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month.

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