Jake’s father, Steve, invited Paddock to join the UCP-OC’s board, where Paddock jumped into the foundation’s fundraising activities, including running in the 2006 Orange County half marathon. Paddock struggled during the run, as he had only trained twice for the event, but he fought through the pain and tightness in his legs.
Steve and Jake cheered for him at the finish line. Jake sat crooked in his wheelchair, his muscles rigid, but smiling and laughing all the same. This fleeting moment with Jake would define the next decade of Paddock’s life.
The next morning, he learned that Jake had died in his sleep. Paddock was devastated and vowed to raise awareness of CP any way he could. “The light bulb went on,” Paddock says. “I knew I had to run the full OC marathon next year for Jakey. Fundraising for the marathon gave me the confidence to spread awareness about a condition not often talked about. Jake was my inspiration and motivation.”
Courtesy of Bonner Paddock