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As even an occasional reader of these pages knows by now, very high on my list of The Vital Elements of Civilised Life is the importance to be awarded to two dedicated parents and their child/children and indeed any child.

Healthy children and especially those who need special care are thus an intense focus of my interests.

Recently, I’ve witnessed the genuinely horrific, neglectful effects upon children when one parent is absent for extended periods of time.  Almost always, that distancing is for the most topsy-turvy combinations of reasons.

Notable upon counseling these men is the concomitant hardening &/or diminishing and ‘distancing’ effects upon the absentee parent.  To the degree any ‘bonding’ which may ever have occurred, by now it is or has been stretched to limits which most psychologists and therapists would never recognise.

Oftentimes, that dimension is sociologically and pathologically ignored by society, or with large, very costly deleterious effects downstream and running into two or more successor generations.

Many of these ‘special care’ issues are, of course, diseases. Amongst those, one of the most fretful is ‘cerebral palsy’.

That particular coupling of words is oftentimes as frightful as Hell to parents. It refers to any one of a number of neurological disorders that appear either in infancy or early childhood.

All of these permanently affect body movement and muscle coordination, but, on the plus-side, they do not worsen over time.

Even though cerebral palsy affects muscle movement, it is not caused by problems in the muscles or nerves.

Rather, it is caused by abnormalities in the parts of the brain that control muscle movements.

The majority of children with cerebral palsy are born with it, although it may not be detected until months or years later. The early signs of cerebral palsy usually appear before a child reaches age 3.

The four (4) most common signs are:
– a lack of muscle coordination when performing voluntary movements (ataxia);
– stiff or tight muscles and exaggerated reflexes (spasticity);
– walking with one foot or leg dragging; walking on the toes, a crouched gait, or a “scissored” gait; and
– muscle tone that is either too stiff or too ‘floppy’.

A small number of children have cerebral palsy as the result of brain damage in the first few months or years of life, brain infections such as bacterial meningitis or viral encephalitis, or head injury from a motor vehicle accident, a fall, or child abuse.

Is there any treatment?

Currently at least, there is no cure for cerebral palsy. However, treatment will often improve a child’s capabilities.

And, oftentimes, it seems, one child’s affliction results in a sibling’s dogged commitment to doing something to help the less-advantaged brother or sister.

Talk about a terrific example of just that:
Teen completes 57-mile (91.7km) walk carrying brother on back

GrandeeBoyOnBrothersBackLARGE[Braden Gandee rides aboard his brother Hunter’s back who is walking along side sister, Kerragan and brother, Kellen as the Gandee family begins the 55 mile (88.5km) walk from Temperance, Mich., to Ann Arbor Friday, June 5, 2015. This walk is to raise awareness about cerebral palsy. (Tom Hawley/The Monroe Evening News via AP)]

DETROIT – A Michigan teen who last year walked 40 miles (64.4km) carrying his brother on his back to raise awareness for cerebral palsy has wrapped up an even longer trek with his sibling.

Hunter Gandee finished his 57-mile (91.7km) journey Sunday afternoon at the University of Michigan’s Pediatric Rehabilitation Center in Ann Arbor after starting from Lambertville in southeastern Michigan’s Monroe County. His brother was in a harness.
Hunter was 14 last June when he carried then-7-year-old Braden, who has cerebral palsy and cannot walk unassisted.

Hunter told The Associated Press by phone Sunday that he was “pretty sore” near the finish but “got a burst of energy at the end.” He said they received great support throughout the weekend.

“It went great — we walked into a big crowd of people,” Hunter said. “It was great to have everyone there. … (Braden) was excited — not only that we were done finally, but everyone was there cheering him on.”

The list of supporters included members of Hunter’s wrestling and football teams, some of whom dumped a bucket of ice water on him at the end. Also in attendance was world silver medalist wrestler Jake Herbert.

This year’s “Cerebral Palsy Swagger” started Friday at CP Swagger Shipyard, a playground they raised money for at Braden’s Lambertville elementary school.
The family said the walk wasn’t intended to be a fundraiser; rather it an awareness project. Hunter said they “absolutely” achieved that aim.

“We were able to reach more people,” he said. “That’s what our goal was.” Braden says he hopes he and his brother can be an inspiration.

What do you think?

Did these boys manage it?

[If this link fails to play, my apologies. Please click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibvb2WF1eTM ]

With aplomb!

Why do I have utter confidence that, despite the 57 miles (91.7km) piggyback ride he gave his little brother, Hunter would assuredly agree with The Hollies:

(If this link fails to play, my apologies. Please click here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYzfTdIZoP0 )

Before he was ‘tried’, hanged and, thus, martyred on 8 April 1945 at Flossenbürg concentration camp by Adolf Hitler’s Nazi SS thugs, The Rev. Dr. Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) memorably, indelibly pronounced:

The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children.

America can be proud that at least some of the young men coming along in the next generation meet and exceed Pastor Bonhoeffer’s highest hopes and standards.

Fine fathers-to-be are being forged as we speak.

Hunter Gandee, Twitter: @HunterGandee who writes “Every drop of blood, sweat, and tears is dedicated to Braden Gandee” Twitter: @The_CP_Swagger

The Monroe (Michigan) Evening News http://www.monroenews.com/, Twitter: @monroenews

University of Michigan’s Pediatric Rehabilitation Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan http://www.uofmhealth.org/our-locations/mott-pediatric-rehabilitation-center Twitter: @UMHealthSystem and the  University’s Michigan Wolverines Twitter: @MichiganScout

FoxNews.com http://www.foxnews.com/us/2015/06/07/teen-completes-57-mile-walk-carrying-brother-on-back/

NBC News, http://www.nbc.com, Twitter: @nbc
Mr. Brian Williams of NBC, Twitter: @BWilliams

United Cerebral Palsy, Washington, D.C., http://ucp.org/ Twitter: @UCPnational

The Ultimate Resource for Everything Cerebral Palsy http://cerebralpalsy.org/Twitter: @UCPnational

Scope UK (as The Spastics Society has now been renamed), a favoured charity when we lived in England for 20 years is now more inclusive in all respects. http://www.scope.org.uk/history Twitter: @Scope

Scope is a registered charity no. 208231. Registered as a company limited by guarantee no. 520866 (England & Wales). Registered office: Scope, 6 Market Road, London, N7 9PW. VAT registration number 805 1569 39

Globally, or as near as can be, resources for parents and grandparents can be found here: http://ucp.org/resources/international-resources/

Also for parents or grandparents, it is very good news that there are clinical trials in process in most Western and some Asian nations, India being one. For example, per the offerings, here, note that these trials offer any child the possibility of participating or that child’s physician the most current information on treatment protocols, etc.

For cerebral palsy, https://clinicaltrials.gov/search/term=Cerebral%20Palsy

For spasticity, http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/cerebral_palsy/cerebral_palsy.htm

The English band, The Hollies, are still going stong. Their latest UK tour information for 2015 is on their website, here: http://www.hollies.co.uk/tour_2015.html   Twitter: @The_Hollies   Since 2004, The Hollies, lead singer has been Peter Howarth. Twitter: @PeterHowarthXXX

Their lyrics to “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” are here:

The road is long
With many a winding turn
That leads us to who knows where
Who knows when
But I’m strong
Strong enough to carry him
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

So on we go
His welfare is of my concern
No burden is he to bear
We’ll get there
For I know
He would not encumber me
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

If I’m laden at all
I’m laden with sadness
That everyone’s heart
Isn’t filled with the gladness
Of love for one another

It’s a long, long road
From which there is no return
While we’re on the way to there
Why not share
And the load
Doesn’t weigh me down at all
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

He’s my brother
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother…