Students welcome Gandee Brothers

Photo by Balinda Zimmerman The Gandee brothers and family are already soaked with rain while walking west in front of Kroger leaving Milan and heading for Saline.

Photo by Balinda Zimmerman
The Gandee brothers and family are already soaked with rain while walking west in front of Kroger leaving Milan and heading for Saline.

By Joyce Ervin

The Cerebral Palsy Swagger supporters and Hunter and Braden Gandee once again planned a stopover in Milan on their 111-mile jaunt on the way to the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing.  Joining students for lunch on April 21, the brothers were greeted by Milan High School students, who waited in the rain to give them a Big Red welcome.
Not strangers to Milan, this is the fourth time the brothers have visited the city on their 40 and 57-mile treks, and when they served as the 2014 Milan Christmas Parade Marshals.  This final journey will bring even more awareness and hopefully raise money for cerebral palsy research.   Braden will walk, with a walker, the last half-mile to the Capitol steps.
Braden was born with periventricular leukomalacia, a brain injury that leads to cerebral palsy.  The disorder according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is the most common childhood motor disability.
Hunter has successfully made improvements for those suffering from the disorder.  He was instrumental in raising funds to have an inclusive playground built at Braden’s Douglas Road Elementary School in Lambertville.  The playground consists of wheelchair-friendly rubber flooring and ramps built to enable his brother and others to enjoy recess and playtime.
Hunter’s efforts paid off big time when he was honored with the Sports Illustrated 2015 High School Athlete of the Year Award.
School principal, Ryan McMahon, said the school worked with the Gandee family making arrangements for the boy’s lunch break to be hosted in the Milan Center for Innovated Studies, and to have students from the high school and Symons Elementary greet them, as they walked the path that runs between the school buildings.
The brothers were given a police escort into the city and several of the officers joined the boys for lunch.  Other representatives from the city and organizations also attended the luncheon to show support.
Lunchtime was fun and youngsters were seen chowing down Subway sandwiches.
Milan Mayor Michael Armitage was unable to attend but said, “I’m sorry that I can’t be there today to welcome Hunter, Braden, and The Cerebral Palsy Swagger today in Milan. You guys are a great inspiration! I wish you the best as you make your way to Lansing!”
You may follow the brother’s journey at: https://www.facebook.com/cerebralpalsyswagger or athttps://twitter.com/The_CP_Swagger.

Joyce Ervin is a freelance writer reporting on Milan.  She can be contacted at:  jlervin42 [at] yahoo [dot] com.

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