Best Friends from Eagle and Meridian are Inspiring America With Their Story
Justin Skeesuck, who lives in Eagle, needs a wheelchair to get around because of his diagnosis with a neuromuscular disease that causes symptoms similar to ALS. That didn't stop him from trekking across Spain, pushed in that wheelchair by his best friend Patrick Gray, who lives in Meridian. The story is catching on across the country.
Justin told ABC News he can do some things himself day-to-day, but because of he disease called multifocal acquired motor axonopathy, he doesn't have much use of his arms or legs and he relies a lot on his wife to help him bathe an get dressed and handle much of the rest of the daily routine. Patrick is second-in-command.
Patrick is the true definition of a best friend, who is there for Justin no matter what, even if it means pushing a heavy wheelchair over rough terrain and over dirt roads in rural parts of a foreign country. When Justin got the wild idea to travel to Spain and explore (not really knowing how it would all come together), Patrick said, "I'll push you."
The 500-mile trek across Northern Spain was on a trail called El Camino de Santiago, and took them over mountain ranges and through rivers, and across desserts over 35 days.
And they've documented the trip. The inspirational story is being turned into a book and a film, called "I'll Push You," and it covers not only the trip, but also the lifelong story about these two friends who refuse to give up on each other.
As best-selling author Shauna Niequist puts it, "We have very few stories of a brotherhood like this one: a story about lifelong friends who, when life became challenging didn't back away, but instead became more committed to one another, more connected, more willing to sacrifice."
The book comes out June 6th, and you can pre-order it on I'll Push You.com.
The film is premiering this week at The 2017 Newport Beach Film Festival, and three screenings sold out so they added a fourth. It will be released to more theaters this fall, and we'll be watching for it.
It's one thing to hear about an incredible story like this and the guys end up being from New York or LA or Kentucky. But these two are right here in our back yard, living in Eagle and Meridian with their wives and kids. It will be fun to watch their success with the book and the film.
In the interview with ABC News, Patrick said he stole a phrase from Justin on why they're sharing their experience: "It’s too much hope not to share it."
And that story of hope is catching on quickly.