WAKE FOREST, N.C. (WNCN) — A Wake Forest teenager badly burned while playing with spray paint and a lighter is now facing six months in the hospital.
It’s a longer road to recovery than expected.
Mason Dark’s mom, Holli, first shared her son’s story with CBS 17 last week, as a warning to other teens. Now, she has another message for the community: a message of thanks.
A video of Mason Dark, taken before the accident, shows him smiling with music playing in the background. His family wants everyone to see Mason like this, but they also want them to see him lying in the burn center at UNC Hospital, hoping the image will serve as a warning to others.
Holli Dark says her son was burned while imitating stunts or challenges on social media. Days after the combination of spray paint, a lighter, and a fire led to an explosion, his family learned Mason’s injuries were worse than they thought.
“It ended up being 76% of his body,” Dark said, recalling chilling words from the doctor. “It’s a matter of life or death.”
Mason, a football player at Heritage High School, has an incredible amount of people pulling for him, and so does his family.
“I cannot tell you how many people from all over have reached out, telling me their stories, offering support, giving me their cell phone numbers checking on me and texting me,” Holli Dark said.
Perhaps even more meaningful, she says people are sharing Mason’s story with their children.
Warning others is the reason she fought through her pain to share her son’s story.
“That’s been my whole mission,” Dark explained. “I don’t want to just share about the burning, the spray paint, the fire….It’s everything — the risks that they take — and I want them to think what could happen. Just think: Is it worth it?”
She says she hopes teens will consider the risks and the consequences when it comes to driving, social media challenges, and anything else.
As heartbreaking as it is to see Mason covered in bandages and burns, she believes his experience will save another family from similar pain.
Asked whether she thinks Mason’s story will save another teen’s life, she responded, “I think it already has, no question.”