Two Best Friends—One in a Wheelchair—Who Took a 500 Mile Pilgrimage Together Say Prayer to God Gave Them Courage

For centuries, people have been making the pilgrimage that traces the steps of James the Apostle from the foot of the French Pyrenees to the Santiago de Compostela cathedral on the west coast of Spain

Every year, roughly 250,000 hike the trail, but very few do it in a wheelchair, according to

For Justin Skeesuck, it would be the epic adventure he and lifelong friend Patrick Gray had talked about for years: a 500-mile trek on the legendary El Camino De Santiago, as reported by

“If you have those moments in your life where you just know inside and out it’s something you’re supposed to do, I just knew. I just knew,” said Justin.

“I just say, ‘Hey, do you want to go across 500 miles in northern Spain with me?’ And Patrick’s answer was, ‘Yeah, I’ll push you.’”

Patrick said, “I didn’t have any other thought than, ‘Yeah, I’ll push you.’ Cause we’ve just shared so much of life together and it was just one more opportunity to build more memories.” says it’s a friendship that started forty years ago. Together, they have supported one another through tournaments, graduations, milestones, and even disease.

In 2004, Justin was diagnosed with Multifocal Acquired Motor Axonopathy, an autoimmune disease that has slowly robbed him of all his motor skills, and will eventually take his life. It has left him completely dependent on his wife Kirstin for daily care. But Patrick didn’t give it a second thought.

The hike is a 5-week trek that traverses mountains, rivers, and desert. Training and preparing for the trip would take two years. Overcoming the doubt that crept in every now and then, took prayer.

“Pat would be completely freaked out. I would be more calm and just kinda like “Okay, we’re going to get through this.” And then, you know, I would be then freaked out and he would be calm as well. Luckily we’re never in the same cycle together.”

Patrick added, “Yeah. We felt like two hamsters on wheels, but they were going at different paces. Different points, and different points in time.”

“But we had never – we’d never prayed so hard, I think, ever…EVER together,” Justin said.

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SOURCE: Assist News

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