500 Miles Of Friendship On The Way Of St. James – SPAIN, FRANCE
500 Miles Of Friendship
The following article was originally posted on Folks, an online magazine dedicated to telling the stories of remarkable people who refuse to be defined by their health issues. Read more stories like this at folks.pillpack.com.
Two best friends didn’t let a pesky wheelchair get in the way of a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
The story: 500 Miles Of Friendship On The Way Of St. James
“The small village of Los Arcos, Spain, appears like an oasis on the Way of St. James, a medieval pilgrimage route to the Santiago de Compostela that snakes for 500 miles through France into Spain.
It’s a quiet town with a large stone church and a population of little more than one thousand people, but when Justin Skeesuck and Patrick Gray arrived there in 2014, they found themselves ambushed by a riotous strawberry festival… and dozens of deadly, rampaging bulls.
“I didn’t see a single strawberry,” Skeesuck chuckles. Instead, he and Gray found themselves barricaded in an alleyway, as the Los Arcos villagers tried to touch the horns of the bulls they’d let loose in the streets as they ran by.
Skeesuck, who is in a wheelchair, could not easily dodge a bull, but Gray jumped into the fray. He attempted to psych the bull out by jumping left, then right, to no avail.
The lathered, wild-eyed bull lunged forward and brushed against Gray’s hip, nearly puncturing his ribcage with the tip of its horn. In a frenzy, Gray scaled a fence to escape the bulls.
The lathered, wild-eyed bull lunged forward and brushed against Gray’s hip, nearly puncturing his ribcage with the tip of its horn.
“[Pat] nearly crapped his pants,” Skeesuck remembers. “I’m totally bummed the cameramen didn’t catch it on film.”
Read the whole story here.
The documentary: ‘I’ll push you’
Those cameramen were accompanying Skeesuck and Gray film their first documentary, I’ll Push You.
I’ll Push You follows the two life-long friends as they explored the Way of St. James together.
I’ll Push You is a story of friendship and love, a story of hope and sacrifice, a story that explores the raw, deep human condition and the connections we all long for. The Camino de Santiago serves as a backdrop to the lives of Justin Skeesuck and Patrick Gray.
I’ll Push You provides insight into what it means to live for one another, what it means to overcome limitations, and what it means to push one another toward who we each long to be.
Make sure to follow social media channels you find on the documentary website, and read more here about Justin and Patrick.
First published in April 2017, updated in January 2023