Two brothers were the headline story of the Cerebral Palsy Swagger, a not for profit walk designed to raise awareness about cerebral palsy. The condition is caused by a series of damages the motor control centre of an infant’s brain often pregnancy, and experts believe umbilical cord blood stem cells could help improve conditions for cerebral palsy patients around the world.
The Cerebral Palsy Swagger was a 64 km walk that spanned from the southern border of Michigan north towards Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan. The Gandee family settled on the University of Michigan’s wrestling centre as the end destination due to Hunter’s love of wrestling in school – and Braden’s admiration for his brother’s abilities.
The event was orchestrated by Danielle Gandee, mother to brothers Hunter and Braden at 14 and 7 years old respectively, who walked the entire track over two days – with Hunter carrying Braden on his back the entire way. Braden was born with cerebral palsy, and is unable to walk under his own strength. When the Cerebral Palsy Swagger was brought to the attention of the family, Hunter immediately volunteered to take part in the walk – and agreed to help Braden become involved as well.
The brothers battled heat, rain, and exhaustion over the course of their two day trek. Hunter admitted that they nearly gave up approximately 14 km away from U of M as both brothers were exhausted and in pain from the journey.
However, the two were committed to seeing the journey through to show their support for increased cerebral palsy awareness throughout North America and the entire world. When the brothers reached the school’s wrestling centre on Sunday, Hunter lifted Braden high enough to touch the school’s “Go Blue” banner, allowing his brother to feel their sense of accomplishment.
The Cerebral Palsy Swagger attracted over 100 people, many of whom joined Hunter and Braden on the walk. At the end of the day, the story of the brothers and their determination to support each other throughout the walk was the highlight of the event.