Hunter Gandee, 14, has some interesting summer plans on Saturday. Instead of the pool, the eighth-grade wrestler at Bedford Junior High in Temperance, Mich., says he will physically carry his 7-year-old brother, who has cerebral palsy, 40 miles to the University of Michigan. Gandee told the Detroit Free Press:
The idea stemmed from the boys’ mom. Hunter tells MLive.com:
“One night my mother had a dream of me carrying Braden from our house to Mackinac. She shared the story with me, and we liked the generally idea of it.”
Hunter says he owes a lot to his brother, in whom he finds inspiration, especially when he’s on the mat. MLive.com reports:
“I never thought I would wrestle,” Hunter said. “I thought for sure I was going to play basketball in high school. The reason that I’m wrestling is this guy right here (squeezing his brother’s shoulders). He loves the sport, and goes crazy just cheering everyone on.” …
Braden, who keeps his brother’s stats, sits mat-side for all of Hunter’s matches. He wears a Bedford Junior High wrestling shirt given to him by coach Matt Andrews.
“Braden was in all our photos when we won tournaments,” Hunter said. “He just loves it, and the team loves him.”
Braden’s goal is to join Bedford’s youth wrestling team himself.
Students with cerebral palsy who wrestle at Saline High School and Perrysburg have reached out to the Gandees. Their stories serve as inspiration for Braden as he works in physical therapy to get on the mat.
“I like it because it’s hard, and it’s just you,” Braden said, smiling.
The community, unsurprisingly, has thrown their support behind the boys, who’ve been tweeting as @The_CP_Swagger. And as their story begins to go national, so has the Internet:
Hey SE MI friends-please cheer on Hunter Gandee as he carries his little brother to Ann Arbor this weekend!! @The_CP_Swagger Braden <3 bots— FRC 1023 BX (@FRC1023) June 6, 2014
Good luck to Hunter and Braden Gandee on their 40 mile walk tomorrow!! Ottawa Hills is supporting you… http://t.co/bkyAbxeeuS— elizabeth (@Emaeallen) June 6, 2014
We are a great community….let’s show it tomorrow, June 7, when Hunter Gandee passes through Dundee with his… http://t.co/fYk0vB0uhS— Dundee Michigan (@VillageofDundee) June 6, 2014