Online and Sports Editor
Braden Gandee is one of the 2 out of a 1000 children affected by cerebral palsy each year. cerebral palsy is a permanent disorder where the limbs and brain cannot completely function in unison, meaning Braden struggles with simply walking on a day to day basis. Braden’s family created the Cerebral Palsy Swagger in his honor, with its purpose to bring nationwide awareness to cerebral palsy and the 10,000 children it affects every year.. With the help of his older brother Hunter, Braden was able to travel from his home in Temperance all the way to the capitol building in downtown Lansing! For six days straight, Hunter walked nearly 111 miles while carrying the young Braden, rarely taking a break. Both local and national news outlets covered the dedication of the two. Many schools came to support the Gandee brothers including Haslett, Mason and Pewamo-Westphalia. Of course, EV nation wasn’t one to be left out.
On April 25, the Everett marching band (in full uniform despite the hot weather), cheerleaders, and Project Unify all showed up to cheer on Braden in his final stretch! The Vikings paraded behind Gandee brothers and the hundreds of people following them, letting them know that EV nation stood behind Braden. The crowd to the Cooley Law School Stadium where the Gandee family and their supporters thanked everyone for supporting their cause to spread awareness to CP. With Braden letting out resounding “let’s do this baby!”, Hunter unstrapped the harness carrying his little brother on the back, and allowed Braden to finish the last half mile from the Cooley Law School Stadium to the capitol building.
Hunter and Braden’s endurance and dedication left a profound message among the community that followed them. Senior cheerleader Savannah Harris admires the ultimate purpose and drive the Gandee brothers had in doing the Cerebral Palsy Swagger.
“I think it is inspiring to see a family who fully supports Braden and wants to show everyone that his condition doesn’t have to be a burden. Their persistence in trying to raise awareness is uplifting and I honestly believe it gives strength to other families that may be in the same situation,” said Harris, “Their whole movement portrays a great sense of family and love.”
More than just to bring awareness to CP, Hunter’s act is also an act of love and compassion. Senior marching band member Norina Yoder sees the 111-mile walk as a perfect example of a brother’s undying support.
“I think that his brother carrying him, shows him just how much support he has,” said Yoder, “his brother is a real role model for him, teaching him never to give up on himself despite his condition.”