Gary Conkling Life Notes

Mostly whimsical reflections on life

He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother

Gandee BrothersWhen the Hollies recorded their song several decades ago, they may have foreseen Hunter Gandee, the 14-year-old Michigan boy who strapped his younger brother on his back and walked 40 miles.



The road is long
With many a winding turns
That leads us to who knows where
Who knows where

But I’m strong
Strong enough to carry him
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

Braden Gandee is only 7 years old, weighs 50 pounds and suffers from cerebral palsy. He usually walks with a walker. Last week, Hunter and Braden, accompanied by family, friends and admirers, walked to raise awareness of the debilitating effects of cerebral palsy. And to demonstrate the love of one brother to another.

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

Hunter, who is a 155-pound wrestler, trained for the trek. Yet he admitted that at around the 30-mile point, he was close to faltering. But a short rest, something to drink and the keen desire to finish what they started propelled the brothers onward.

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

The walk is an example of quiet heroism, of love of others over self. While the song was written in reflection of the work at Father Flanagan at Boys Town in Omaha, its lyrics fit perfectly for the Gandee brothers.

“I can’t even describe to you how special he is to me,” Hunter told reporters. “He’s awesome. He’s always there for me. I really just wanted to give back to him in some way.”

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


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