Most of you have probably never heard of Stacey Kozel. Don’t worry, until just recently, I hadn’t either. However, upon hearing her story, and reading about what she is attempting, I am now a HUGE fan of hers.
Two years ago lupus found it’s way into Stacey’s nervous system, causing her to become paralyzed. She had trouble sitting up in her bed without assistance, much less walking.
What makes Stacey’s story so remarkable is how she is dealing with her new normal. There were Countless ways she could have responded.
In fact, I am pretty sure that is how I would have responded. But Stacey did not accept her diagnosis and condition. She wanted to defy the odds. She wanted to show that just because life had handed her a heavy load, that didn’t mean she had to sit still. So she came up with a plan….
To hike the entire Appalachian Trail
Most folks who are told they might not walk again, don’t plan on hiking 2,190 miles through 14 states. But Stacey is not your average person. An avid lover of the outdoors, she knew she had to get back outside before she lost her mind. So she started researching and found out about the C-brace . This computer controlled brace allows her to walk with more ease and freedom.
After much training and getting the proper fit and adjustments….Stacey is on her way. She recently passed through our area on her 2000 mile journey and told her story to the local news.
Stacey’s Story… watch this. You won’t be disappointed.
Watching and reading about her story was interesting to me for two reasons. First, it is my dream to hike the Appalachian Trail, and second, it made feel incredibly weak even though I have the full use of both my legs and feet.
How many times do I start something only to quit because it is too hard?
Playing the flute
Cooking (don’t you dare laugh…it terrifies me)
….and so much more.
All pushed aside and forgotten about by me in a huff of frustration because I thought it was “hard”.
Seriously? This lady can’t feel her legs and is walking over 2000 miles over mountains, and through some of the most remote wilderness there is and I convince myself I can’t learn to knit a simple little dishcloth because it’s too hard for me.
MAJOR REALITY CHECK RIGHT HERE.
Telling myself I can’t is an excuse I have used over and over for so many years. If something doesn’t come to me easy…. I quit. If something doesn’t go the way I plan…I quit.
Quitting is easy. Keeping on is hard.
There are so many countless ways I tell myself I can’t each and every day.
I’m too tired.
I’m not strong enough
I’m not fit enough.
I’m too short
I’m too fat.
I’m too weak.
I’m too poor.
I’m not worthy.
And that’s just the short list.
What I have learned from Stacey is this… just because something seems hard and impossible is not a reason to quit. It is not about being fast, perfect, fancy, or even looking good when you do it, it’s about not accepting obstacles as the end. When she was faced with the possibility of not walking again, she didn’t just accept it and move on. She accepted the challenge and found a way over the obstacle. She knew there were countless ways to get where she wanted to go, and she was determined to find the right way, and get there.
I have decided that whenever I am up against something hard and difficult, and I find myself telling myself “I can’t”, I am going to think of Stacey. Sure it’s going to take her longer. Sure it’s going to get really rough when she hits the northern more rocky part of the trail. Sure she’s going to hurt. But I believe she will also finish and climb the magnificent final summit at Mt. Katahdin.
Friend, just because life throws boulders in our way doesn’t mean we can’t get around or over them. What’s important is NOT giving up!!! Giving up is what causes us to quit. And quitting is what causes us to stop living a full life.
Grit your teeth, strap on your pack, and get moving!!!!!!
Here is part of Stacey’s story……Why Stacey Hikes
And here is where you can follow her journey on Facebook Stacey Kozel’s AT Journey