Mich. teen carries brother with cerebral palsy 40 miles on back - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Teen carries brother 40 miles to raise awareness for cerebral palsy

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Hunter Gandee, with his brother on his back, finished a 40-mile walk at the University of Michigan. (Source: WJBK/CBS) Hunter Gandee, with his brother on his back, finished a 40-mile walk at the University of Michigan. (Source: WJBK/CBS)

ANN ARBOR, MI (WJBK/CBS) - A 14-year-old Michigan boy finished a 40-mile trek Sunday with his 7-year-old brother strapped to his back, hoping to raise awareness about the muscular condition that prevents the younger boy from walking without help.

Hunter Gandee, with 50-pound Braden securely strapped to his back, made it to the University of Michigan campus after more than a day. The brothers left shortly after 8 a.m. Saturday from the parking lot of Bedford Junior High School in Temperance, which is near the Ohio border. Surrounding the Gandees were dozens of family, friends and community members, many of whom released balloons into the sky as the walk commenced.

Called the Cerebral Palsy Swagger, the trek's goal was to raise awareness for the muscle disorder and to grab the attention of the next generation of leaders, doctors, engineers and entrepreneurs. Hunter wanted to show them the face of cerebral palsy and the need for new ideas in mobility aides and medical procedures.

The family is not asking for donations, but they are directing supporters to the University of Michigan Cerebral Palsy Research Program. Hunter raised $350 for the program through the sale of green wristbands at his school in March.

"I got done with the bracelet sale at my junior high and tried to think of different things to raise awareness," he said. "I can't put it into words. [My brother's] awesome, always there for me. I just wanted to give back to him in some way."

Even students from a rival middle school, Jefferson, raised $700.

Hunter, a 155-pound wrestler, said he trained by lifting weights and staying active. He predicted that the love and support he received at the rally and in the days and weeks preceding it would "push us through."

Braden, meanwhile, said he had faith that Hunter can get them to Ann Arbor.

Copyright 2014 WJBK via CBS. All rights reserved.

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