Braden Gandee had a simple dream: to play at recess alongside his classmates.
But for Braden — a 9-year-old who suffers from cerebral palsy, which limits his physical abilities — the playground was never an option.
"I just had to sit back and watch them [friends] have fun," said Braden "I really wanted to do what they did."
That was until his older brother, 15-year-old Hunter, last year set out to make the young boy’s dream a reality.
NBC News first introduced the Gandee brothers' story in June 2014 when the pair set off — with Hunter carrying Braden on his back — from their home in Temperance, Michigan, and walked forty miles to the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus to raise awareness about cerebral palsy. Along the journey, people cheered them on.
The brothers dubbed the trip "CP Swagger."
All that attention brought generous donations from individuals across the country, including from teams of engineers who offered to build a new playground for the community, accessible to people suffering from disabilities.
Neighbors rallied around the cause and together with the Gandees, they raised enough funds to build the playground. Earlier this year, construction began and Braden could hardly wait. Recovering from surgery at the time — which may allow him to walk on his own one day — he cheered on his brother and other volunteers every day at the construction site.
All that hard work paid off. This week, NBC News returned for the playground’s opening ceremony.
For Hunter, watching Braden swing, crawl and slide all over the playground made this journey worth it.
"It’s an amazing feeling," said Hunter. "We were able to do this with the support of our community and so many people."