Imagine hiking 500 miles across mountains, valleys, and seemingly endless prairie all while pushing your best friend in a wheelchair and rediscovering God – and yourself – along the way.
That may sound like a compelling movie plot, but it’s a true story for Justin Skeesuck and Patrick Gray.
Justin has a progressive neuromuscular disease called multifocal acquired motor axonapathy. It’s a genetic predisposition similar to ALS that was triggered by a car accident Justin survived when he was 16 years old. His paralysis started in his left foot and worked its way up through his body.
He can no longer use his arms or his legs, and he’s confined to a power wheelchair. He requires 24-hour care for his every need – feeding, using the restroom, showering, getting dressed and undressed … all of it.
Patrick and Justin have been best friends since they were boys. So when Justin watched a television program about the Camino de Santiago – a 500-mile pilgrimage stretching from southwest France and across northern Spain – and asked Patrick if he would help him follow it, Patrick didn’t hesitate to say yes.
Their journey has been documented both in film and in their book I’ll Push You: A Journey of 500 Miles, Two Best Friends, and One Wheelchair.
They discovered that when all of the distractions of life are stripped away, you come face-to-face with who you really are and with who God really is.
Patrick and Justin are with us to share about their 35-day adventure along the Camino de Santiago. It’s is an inspirational story of friendship and of overcoming hardship and struggle.
The book of Ecclesiastes says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow” (4:9-10, ESV). Patrick and Justin have experienced the truth of that verse through their friendship. So have thousands of families, who have found hope and godly encouragement through their friendship with this ministry.
I’d like to extend an invitation for you to become a special partner with us through our monthly “Friends of Focus on the Family” program. When you do, I’ll send you a free copy of Patrick and Justin’s book as a way of saying thank you for touching others with the love of Christ. To make your pledge, or for more information, visit our website or call 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459).