Meet the first man with cerebral palsy to conquer Kilimanjaro and the Ironman

By Johnie Gall | 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.

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