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From the Appalachian Trail to Pacific Crest, paralyzed Stacey Kozel defies the odds

Hiking the Pacific Crest

On October 9th after 2,190 miles Stacey Kozel made the impossible a reality by hiking the entire length of the Appalachian Trail.

"My legs are permanently paralyzed, my arms kind of came back and I was able to learn with rehab how to balance again and use my upper body to do what my legs aren't doing." Kozel said.

The first paralyzed hiker to ever finish the trail she battled rain, snow, and wind but in the end found a way.

"Don't know what the future holds, keeping going each day and see what happens. Quitting isn't an option, nothing good comes from quitting. That's all I know." Kozel added.

Five month later, March 30th, the next adventure began. Kozel began her hike of the Pacific Crest Trail that started on the border of Mexico and the United States and will end on the US/Canada border.

"The brace locks my knees in place, walk stiff legged, and I can use my upper body and my hips to make my hips actually move." Kozel added.

One step at a time on a trail with a total distance of 2,650 miles stretching through California, Oregon, and Washington with a September finish in sight.

"It's going to depend on weather, I know the Sierras were hit hard this year so I am watching the snow melting over there and trying to hit it perfectly but it seems like the gap has been narrowed with all the snow fall."

Along the way helping others discover courage they never knew they had.

"One women reached out to me and said she's been in a wheel chair and for the first time in 17-years she ventured outside.  Those kind of things just help me keep pushing me, they don't realize they are helping me keep going as well." Kozel said.

"Kind of like life, the tougher the climb the more it is worth it when you reach the top."

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