“For better or for worse,” and “In sickness and in health” are phrases typically saved for wedding vows, but two lifelong buddies proved that they should apply to friendship too.
Patrick Gray, 41, trekked through 500 miles of mountains, rivers and desert in Spain – a feat for any adventurer. But, he did it while pushing his best friend, Justin Skeesuck, in a wheelchair.
The pair, both 41, has known each other their whole lives. Their parents attended the same church, and they went to middle and high school together, ABC News reported.
Gray was there when Skeesuck was diagnosed with multifocal acquired motor axonopathy, a neuromuscular disease with symptoms similar to ALS.
Skeesuck, who lives in Eagle, Idaho, said he requires assistance with simple tasks such as putting his clothes on and bathing. He called his best friend his No. 2 caregiver and the “vice president” of his “inner circle.”
I can do some stuff on my own. I can get around on my own. I use a power wheelchair,” Skeesuck told ABC News. “But my wife is my primary caregiver and then Patrick steps in and he’s kind of my No. 2.”
In 2013, Skeesuck sought out to trek the 500 miles of Spain’s Camino de Santiago after learning about it on a travel show.
“I just knew I needed to do it,” Skeesuck said.
His No. 2 didn’t hesitate when the decision came on whether to go with him.
It took a year to train for the trek – and to convince their spouses to let them go – and the best friends finally hit the trail on June 3, 2014. With the help of more than 100 pilgrims, they were able to complete their mission.
“We were going to try to make it, come hell or high water,” Skeesuck said, adding that they were just “focused; trying to have fun throughout the process.”
The two documented the experience in a book to be released this summer, titled “I’ll Push You: A Journey of 500 Miles, Two Best Friends and One Wheelchair.”
Gray said they came up with the phrase “I’ll Push You” from his best friend.
“It’s too much hope not to share it,” Gray said.
(H/T: ABC News)
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