Back in June, a story came out about 15-year old Hunter Gandee carrying his 8-year old brother, Braden, for 57 miles in order to raise awareness for cerebral palsy. Braden has the congenital disorder that prevents him from doing the basic things that most people take for granted. Hunter often carries him in places like the grocery store because it’s just easier than Braden using his walker. When his mom had a dream that Hunter walked with Braden to raise awareness for cerebral palsy, Hunter quickly took action to make a difference.
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Last summer, Hunter carried Braden through the Michigan heat for 40 miles. He wanted to top that this year. With Braden strapped to a harness, Hunter was able to successfully walk 57 miles across Michigan to raise awareness. This kid has some serious motivation to get that done. Some people walked alongside him for support, but no one had the drive or determination that he did.
Physical Therapists were present at different points throughout the walk to ensure that they were both healthy enough to continue. Hunter said he collapsed after the walk was finished out of complete exhaustion, and rightfully so. He has raised well over $100,000 since last summer and has no intention of stopping now. What Hunter did for his brother, and everyone else fighting with cerebral palsy, is show everyone that he can be strong for them and is willing to fight alongside them.
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Stories like this don’t get enough attention in the national media, even though they happen every day. There’s nothing more heartwarming that someone like Hunter taking a leap and doing something that most people would think is impossible. Not only did he walk 57 miles, but he did it with an extra 60-pound body strapped to him.
Some people get motivated by these types of stories to go out and make a difference themselves. Many times, though, life gets in the way. Raising awareness sometimes takes the back burner, unless you have a friend or family member that is fighting a disease or disorder who means a lot to you.
It’s a challenge for everyone to go through something similar to what Hunter did, but what would you be willing to do? Would you walk 20 miles to raise awareness for a cause if you didn’t have any personal involvement in it? Or what if you did have someone that you know suffering from an illness or disorder?
What Hunter did was extremely difficult, but he has a big enough heart to endure it. Raising awareness doesn’t mean that you have to walk 57 miles in the summer. It doesn’t even have to involve monetary donations. Simply having conversations and educating people about different causes will go a long way in changing the world. Hunter Gandee is a special kid, but we can all pitch in to back the efforts of what someone like that can single handily do.