Braden Gandee, 8, idolizes his 15-year-old brother, Hunter. Braden has cerebral palsy, which makes it hard to control his muscles. But for as long as Braden can remember, Hunter has been around to help him out. Spend any time with the brothers, and you’re bound to see Hunter, a strapping young man who wrestles with the varsity team as a freshman in high school carrying his little brother from place to place.
We first introduced you to these brothers with an incredible bond last June. Hunter decided last year that he wanted to raise awareness about cerebral palsy. The pair set off from their home in Temperance, Michigan, and walked for two days – 40 miles – to the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor. They called the trek “The CP Swagger.” Along the way, people cheered on the brothers.
And since the day they crossed that finish line, the two boys can’t believe how much attention they’ve received. It’s overwhelming.
“It’s been a lot of change, but a lot of change for the better,” Hunter says.
Teams of engineers have now reached out and offered to build a new playground, accessible to people with disabilities. Another team in Cincinnati built Braden a new walker that can maneuver more easily on the existing playground’s mulch and grass.
Now in second grade, Braden has decided to try out wrestling—to be a little more like the big brother he looks up to so much. At his first scrimmage matches on Sunday he struggled to stay up tall on his knees.
And while Braden is inspiring everyone with his strength and persistence, he says his big brother is the one who inspires him.
“He inspires me, because he shows me that if you try hard enough, you actually can do something.”