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Posted: April 17, 2017

Man takes friend in wheelchair on 500-mile journey

Closeup of a wheelchair. (Photo: wp paarz/flickr/Creative Commons) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
Closeup of a wheelchair. (Photo: wp paarz/flickr/Creative Commons) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

By Jared Leone, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Justin Skeesuck was struck with the idea to trek Spain’s Camino de Santiago trail after watching a travel show about the pilgrimage route.

“I knew instantly my heart was just telling me, ‘You need to do this',” Skeesuck told “Today.”

Skeesuck, who has multifocal acquired motor axonopathy, a neuromuscular disease, would not let that be an impediment. Neither would his lifelong friend, Patrick Gray.

“We've done everything together so far. Why not have one more adventure?” Gray said. “So there was just no other response in my head than yeah, I'll push you.”

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The pair from Idaho were challenged along the route as they crossed mountain ranges, rivers and a desert in 34 days.

“I've never been that depleted physically in my entire life,” Gray said.

Strangers helped the traveling pair along the road, which ends at a shrine to St. James.

“I think faith in humanity was restored. Being the recipient of such grace and such help and love. It was truly amazing,” Skeesuck said. “The pilgrimage has taught me for sure that when you do step out in faith, watch out, because amazing things can really happen.”

The men documented their journey in a book titled “I’ll Push You: A Journey of 500 Miles, Two Best Friends and One Wheelchair,” which will be released June 6. They are also working on a children’s book version of the story.


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