Paraplegic hikes the Appalachian Trail

Paraplegic hikes the Appalachian Trail

FARMINGTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Last Sunday, a woman from Ohio finished the Appalachian Trail… and oh, by the way, she lost the use of her legs two years ago.

"I knew it was going to be tough, I didn't start it because it was going to be easy."

Stacey Kozel has lupus. In 2014, she had a flare-up that left her upper body weak, and her legs paralyzed. For anyone, that's a life-changing diagnosis; she saw it as a chance to keep moving forward.

Using braces that keep her legs straight while she swings her hips, Stacey hiked from Georgia to Maine.

"No matter what background you have, ability you are, everyone gets on the trail and everyone is family and looks out for each other," Kozel said.

She's now sharing her journey with others like 6-year-old Grace LaPoint, hoping to inspire others and to make these braces more popular.

"I want Grace to be inspired when she grows up, and know that there's no limitations in this world," said her aunt Kerri Podgurski, who set up the meeting after hearing Stacey's story.

Follow Stacey on Facebook to keep track of her journey.

Copyright 2016 WCSH


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