It’s weird how amazing things can happen nowadays and not instantly be on everybody’s Facebook wall. That story about the Georgia high schooler who made a kid with Down Syndrome’s dream come true by wrestling him in the South Metro Wrestling Tournament? It sat for months with nobody reporting on it.
Similarly, the story of an 8th grader who is carrying his little brother 40 miles from their hometown to the University of Michigan to raise awareness for cerebral palsy broke a couple of weeks ago to almost no play. That’s changing today, thank goodness, as it’s exactly the kind of story you need to counter the facepalmy sadness we normally report.
The story of the bond between the boys is incredible. Hunter Gandee wrestles. His little brother Braden sits nearby, watches the matches and keeps stats. Hunter has his own homemade foundation to help Braden live a happier live — “Cerebral Palsy Swagger” — and sells wristbands. He’s got his entire family driving the path between his starting and ending points to fine tune the walk. He’s even calling folks to ask their permission, and Jesus, every part of this is impressive. Via MLive:
When Hunter reached out to the University of Michigan wrestling team to see about using its Bahna Wrestling Center for the end point of the walk, coach Joe McFarland didn’t hesitate to throw his support behind the project.
“One day he just stopped by, to tell us the plan and ask our permission,” McFarland said. “We spent some time with the family, and were excited to be a part of it any way we could. He was actually carrying his little brother around. You could see the love they had for each other.”
Hunter made an immediate impression on McFarland, a U-M alum and former four-time All-American wrestler.
“It’s an incredible feat,” McFarland said. “What does it say about the kind of maturity he has? It’s just an incredible thing.”
Michigan wrestler Chris Heald contacted the family personally to let them know he wanted to join in on the walk. Other wrestlers, members of the Wolverines coaching staff and faculty are planning to be there when Hunter arrives at the Bahna Wrestling Center Sunday at 2 p.m.
“We are going to have as many guys there as we can, as many that are in town,” McFarland said. “Wrestling is a close community, and our guys want to show their appreciation for what Hunter is doing.”
This is the best:
As for Braden’s thoughts on the walks, his response was a simple one.
“I’m excited,” he said, with a huge smile. “Why wouldn’t I be excited?”
Be sure to read the entire story here, watch and share the video below and spread awareness for this kid’s wonderful ability to spread awareness. Good luck, Hunter.