There’s a world of difference between a walk and a swagger.
Walking is about getting from one place to the other, no frills attached. Swaggering, however, is about making a statement—and that’s exactly what Hunter Gandee plans to do.
According to Robin Erb of the Dertroit Free Press, Hunter is an eighth-grader at Bedford Junior High and the founder of “The Cerebral Palsy Swagger,” a movement dedicated to bringing attention and innovation to those suffering with impaired mobility.
The inspiration behind Hunter’s “Swagger” is his seven-year-old brother Braden, who lives with cerebral palsy and relies on a walker to get around. Hunter believes the medical community needs to develop all-terrain gear for those like Braden, who is unable to move over grass or mulch in his walker.
Thus Hunter will walk—excuse me, swagger—all the way from his middle school in Bedford Township to Ann Arbour, Michigan. It’s a 40-mile journey that will take two days to complete, and Hunter plans to do the whole thing with Braden on his back.
“We want people to see [us] and wonder what it was,” Hunter told Erb.
Hunter says his swagger isn’t just for his brother. He hopes the medical community at-large will notice their efforts and take steps toward developing adaptable, all-terrain technology for those suffering from impaired mobility.
“We’re hoping to inform the up-and-coming leaders and possible doctors and medical researchers who can possibly develop new and innovative ideas and technology that will assist mobility,” Hunter said.
Erb writes that Hunter is already taking his message to social media.
“So Hunter, the oldest of the four Gandee siblings, began a social media campaign, taking to Facebook and Twitter and Instagram to tell anyone who will listen that he plans to do the 40-mile walk with Braden on his back,” Erb writes. “Sister Kerragan, 13, will be running a blog to update followers along the route.”
The Gandees are even reaching out to Ellen Degeneres.
So why does Hunter—a student council member and captain of the school’s wrestling team—take on all this additional weight for technology that may be years in the making?
Because his brother has always carried him.
“He’s done a lot more for me than people realize,” Hunter said to Erb. “He’s given me so much self-confidence. He’s there for me all the time. Everything I do, I want to push to be that much better for him.”
I speak for all of Swagger when I say best of luck to Hunter and Braden. Forty miles is a long way to walk, but it goes faster when you’re in good company and swaggering every step of the way.