By Melinda CarstensenPublished March 31,

Ever since 39-year-old Bonner Paddock was a child, he has carried what he calls “the dark rider” with him every step of the way.

When Paddock was 11, he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy (CP). Since then, he has tried to ignore this companion’s presence— even as it persisted to make his muscles ache and his body to move with an abnormal gait where his toes, rather than his heel, hit the ground when he propels forward.

His attitude changed in his late 20s, when he found a way to channel his “dark rider” to raise awareness about CP— by tackling seemingly insurmountable pursuits for someone with his condition. In 2008, he climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, the tallest freestanding mountain in the world, unassisted. Then, in 2012, he completed the Ironman World Championship, among lava fields in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. Paddock was the first person with CP to accomplish both feats. Paddock details how he overcame these challenges, as well as his struggle to accept CP, in his new book, “One More Step.”

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