14-year old Hunter Grandee has begun a 40-mile trek from his home in Temperance, MI (near the Ohio border) to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor with his 50 lb, 7-year old brother Braden strapped to his back. Their mission is to raise awareness for cerebral palsy, which the younger boy suffers from. Because of his condition, Braden is unable to walk.
Cerebral palsy is a disorder of movement, muscle tone or posture that is caused by to damage to the developing brain while in-utero, as well as hypoxia and trauma during labor and delivery. It is said to occur in approximately 2.1 out of every live births, and is said to be more common in males than females. Symptoms generally appear between infancy and preschool years and include “impaired movement associated with exaggerated reflexes, floppiness or rigidity of the limbs and trunk, abnormal posture, involuntary movements, unsteadiness of walking, due to reduced joint motion and muscle stiffness.” Many people also have difficulty with swallowing and commonly have eye muscle imbalance. However, it should be noted that the degree of disabilities can vary greatly depending on the severity of initial brain damage. Other signs and symptoms can also include: Tremors or involuntary movements; Slow, writhing movements; Delays in reaching motor skills milestones, such as pushing up on arms, sitting up alone or crawling; Favoring one side of the body, such as reaching with only one hand or dragging a leg while crawling; Excessive drooling or problems with swallowing; Difficulty with sucking or eating; Delayed speech development or difficulty speaking; and inability to pick up items such as a spoon or crayons.
While some people can walk, others like Braden can’t. In addition, some people with Cerebral palsy are able to function with normal (or near normal) intellectual ability, while others suffer disabilities in this area. Epilepsy, blindness and deafness are other problems seen in people with CP.
To learn more about the condition, readers can contact the United Cebral Palsy Foundation at 1-866-251-0808