When a man in a wheelchair has a dream, a best friend, and a little faith in humanity, nothing is impossible. On June 3, 2014, Idaho men Justin Skeesuck and Patrick Gray traveled for 34 days across 500 miles, all to achieve a dream.
According to ABC News, Skeesuck “was diagnosed with multifocal acquired motor axonopathy, a neuromuscular disease that causes symptoms similar to ALS.” Still, Gray would not let the fact that his friend is in a wheelchair deter him from achieving his dreams.
According to Today, Gray said to Skeesuck, “So there was just no other response in my head than yeah, I’ll push you.”
The two had been great friends for a while, having known each other since birth and attending the same schools together. Skeesuck told ABC News that “[Gray is] kind of my No. 2. I call him the vice president of my inner circle.”
So when Skeesuck had the idea to leave the state of Idaho and travel to Spain to trek across mountains, deserts, and rivers, his friend was on board with him. According to Today, Gray said, “We’ve done everything together so far. Why not have one more adventure?”
The duo trained for one year to travel across Spain’s Camino de Santiago trail, which is 500 miles long, according to ABC News. Still, the journey proved to be physically taxing for the pair of friends. “Not only did they have a strict time limit — about six weeks to get from start to finish — but they also faced incredibly challenging obstacles,” according to Today.
With all of that traveling, the journey would have been a tough one without a little help from some people along the way. “We have people that surround us that carried up these mountains, they have given so much,” Gray said. Thankfully, there were many people willing to help Skeesuck and Gray along their journey to fulfill a dream.
Gray was truly inspired by the assistance and friendliness that people showed them along the way. “I want that to be a testament to how we’re supposed to live our lives, is that whoever we come in contact with, whatever their walk is, the greatest gift we can give them is to love them,” he said.
Faith in humanity was restored to these two men as they embarked on a 500-mile, daunting trip. According to Today, Skeesuck was surprised that strangers were so helpful to them. “Being the recipient of such grace and such help and love – it was truly amazing.”
Skeesuck and Gray made it through the journey just fine and came out with an amazing new faith in strangers.
The duo was so inspired by their journey that they hoped to inspire others with their story. They have crafted a new book, titled I’ll Push You: A Journey of 500 Miles, Two Best Friends and One Wheelchair that is set to be released on June 6, just three years after their incredible journey.
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