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Good News

After a spinal injury, this man finds beauty in little things. Here's how he does it.

Mason Branstator is on a journey to find the beauty in life every day. With a positive social media presence, he’s helping others find it, too.

Mason has a T12 incomplete spinal cord injury, which affects lower body functions. He shares his motivational content with a goal in mind: to prove to others that it's possible.

When Mason was in high school, a typical day on the slopes changed his life forever. Skiing down a hill he had been on countless times before, he hit a jump too fast. The next thing he knew, he woke up in the intensive care unit with a broken back.

Doctors told him he likely wouldn’t walk again.

“I just thought it was a dream for the first couple days. And when I finally started realizing that this was real life, I was like, 'All right, time to take things seriously. Time to figure out what I'm going to do about this situation,'” said Mason.

Mason took on this new life like he took on most things — with optimism. He began the recovery process at Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colorado. Surrounded by spinal injury patients in recovery, his rehab experience opened his eyes to a new way of life.

“That made all the difference as I was going through rehab for my attitude and outlook and optimism,” said Mason. “If I saw somebody else doing something in a wheelchair, I knew that I could do that too.”

Mason learned to make possible, what he was initially told was impossible: walking. He realized he was fighting mental barriers as well as physical ones, and soon learned the parts of him he thought he'd lost forever were not gone at all.

Surfing in the ocean, rock climbing up the side of boulders and competing in triathlons are just some of what Mason enjoys doing. He documents his adventures online, inspiring others with similar challenges that their dreams are possible, too.

“All those things just made me feel whole again,” he said.

Mason doesn’t just document his adventures to inspire. He also shares wheelchair safety tips, like how to get down an escalator safely, how he drives, and how to get around areas that aren’t accessible.

“It all started with me just wanting to find more people like me that I could connect with and talk to and talk through all the hard things that I was going through,” said Mason. “And then it blossomed into this thing that inspired millions of people around the world, and it just turned into this incredible thing that I didn't even intend for it to.”

Alongside the communities he has built, and the one he already has — his supportive family — he has no intention of slowing down.

 “Something that has really guided me through everything that I've gone through in the past couple years is if I can do it once, I can do it again," he said. "And I can do it better than I did before.”

Watch the full story below.

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