Hunter Gandee, 14, and his brother Braden, 7, begin the trek to Ann Arbor.
The Blade/Jetta Fraser
TEMPERANCE-- Scores of green helium balloons soared in the air today as about 200 people set out on foot from Bedford Junior High School north on Jackman Road, to see off a 14-year-old boy carrying his 7-year-old brother piggyback to Ann Arbor.
PHOTO GALLERY: Click here for more photos from the sendoff
Hunter Gandee of Temperance, an eighth grader at the school, departed for a 40-mile walk after a 15-minute send-off attended by hundreds of students, parents, school faculty and staff, and community representatives.
His younger brother, Braden Gandee, 7, a first grader at Douglas Road Elementary School, has cerebral palsy and uses a walker and braces. Braden has been in physical therapy since he was 3 months old. Hunter has told The Blade he wants to draw attention to the problems Braden and others with cerebral palsy face.
Hunter and Braden have told The Blade the walk to the University of Michigan by Sunday would take about 13 hours of total walking time. They chose Ann Arbor as the place of destination because Braden had participated in clinical studies there and because they both root for the Wolverines.
Hunter weighs 150 pounds and is a wrestler and football player on the junior high teams. Braden weighs 50 pounds and will be carried piggyback by his brother. The boys' parents, Denielle and Sam Gandee, will drive ahead of them, and the boys will be accompanied by supporters.