Paralyzed hiker conquers Appalachian and Pacific Crest trails

The paralyzed hiker completing her solo trek of the Pacific Crest Trail tackling all 2,650 miles one step at a time.  When she turned 19, doctors explained to Stacey Kozel that she had Lupus, and she's been struggling with the disease ever since.

Years ago, it attacked her spinal cord and stole her ability to walk.  "I pretty much had no mobility," says Kozel.  "Couldn't raise my head... nothing."
                
For seven months, she struggled with intense daily physical therapy.  Her hard work would pay off, giving her back some strength in her arms, but not in her legs, which are completely paralyzed.  "Coming out of the hospital and needing a power wheelchair, I just dreamt about getting back outdoors."  With the help of leg braces, she was able to walk out into fresh, open air.  And, last year, she hiked the entire 2,190 mile Appalachian Trail, the first paralyzed hiker ever to do so.
                
And recently, she finished hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, as well.  Another day, another first...  "Feels good," Kozel tells us, "anything is possible.  If someone paralyzed can hike the trail, anything is possible."

Perhaps we should keep Stacey Kozel in mind the next time a task seems too daunting. 


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