The following comes from GrindTV:
When Bonner Paddock was a child, doctors handed his mother his death sentence: He would most likely be confined to a wheelchair by age 15 and dead by 20.
What he did instead was unimaginable.
Paddock, now 40, is a two-time world-record holder, the first person with cerebral palsy to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro — the tallest freestanding mountain in the world at 19,341 feet — unassisted. He’s also the first person with CP to finish the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, widely considered one of the most difficult triathlons in the world.
Both are incredible physical feats for an able-bodied person, let alone a man who spent the majority of his childhood in leg braces and casts.
From the time Paddock was a child, there was something noticeably wrong with the way he moved, dragging his left leg when he walked, unable to keep his balance. Paddock says his mother kept the severity of his condition from him completely as doctors subjected him to lengthy tests, unable to diagnose his condition; some believed he would stop walking, others that he faced an early death.
Finally, at age 11, Paddock was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a permanent, non-progressive disorder typically caused by early brain damage that affects the patient’s muscles and motor skills. It was something Paddock would try to keep a secret through his late 20s, determined not to let his disabilities limit him.
“I didn’t know how to channel all this frustration and anger from getting teased in elementary school,” the Laguna Beach, California, resident remembers. “It built up this bigger and bigger wall that I didn’t know how to get around. It was a big, dark secret that kept building.”
Finally, at age 29, weary of expending so much energy in order to guard the truth about his condition, Paddock decided to tell his boss.
“He was so nonchalant about it. He just said, ‘OK, well, do you need anything?’” Paddock laughs. “We all get these things in our heads, things we’re extremely apprehensive about, and they wind up so tightly in our minds. It was amazing after so long to finally start unwinding that ball of yarn I had created over all those years.”
A few years later, while working with the Anaheim Ducks ice hockey team during the NHL lockout, Paddock joined the board of United Cerebral Palsy of Orange County. While on the board, he befriended Steven Robert, whose 4-year-old son, Jake, was born with CP. The duo began training for the Orange County Marathon to raise funds for UCP’s Life Without Limits center, a place where young CP patients could get the physical therapy they needed.