NORTH CAROLINA — Holli Dark is the North Carolina mother of Mason Dark, the 16-year-old who was badly burned when a social media challenge went horribly wrong last Thursday.
While he recovers in the UNC Hospitals Burn Clinic, she spoke with our sister station, ABC11, about her son, the accident, and the message she hopes will be received by other teens tempted by similar risky behavior.
“The last night was a really, really tough night. We found out last night before I left the hospital for the evening that he did develop pneumonia, which they told us to expect sometime throughout this journey. I just wasn’t expecting to know we’d have to deal with this the first week. So that’s a little tough to tough to take in.
“You trust the doctors. You trust everybody. I know he’s in the best place, but I’m not so good at covering my emotions and feelings. It’s hard to hold that in and just to trust. I know I have to trust God most of all, but just trust them to make the right decisions. So that’s that’s been really difficult.
“You know, the kids, they all watch so much of tech, talk and do all the different things. The spray paint and lighters and all of that, that’s been going on for years and years. So I know that that challenge is out there. They’re constantly doing the different things on TikTok, imitating this, doing that. It’s like these kids just try anything these people do, they see it and they want to imitate it. They want to see how they can do it and what will happen. So I’ve just been learning more and more details from the kids that were there, and it’s hard trying to picture it, what happened. I’m just I’m so thankful that the kids were there and they were smart enough to call 911.
What they’ve been really trying to do is wean him off the ventilator to wake him up, get him out of sedation. And he’s done remarkably well. The nurses have been just really pleased, he’s following commands like squeezing and blinking his eyes, so he’ll start off great. But then it gets where he’s so strong, they have him down. They have his arms in splints. And I mean, he pulled his arms together yesterday or the day before and I mean, they had two nurses in there and dad comes, he was in the hall, comes running. I mean, it took four people to hold him down. So he’s getting agitated, I think, kind of not knowing where he’s at, what’s going on and then at that point, he just gets in so much pain. His heart rate starts going up. And so they have to get him like immediately back in sedation. And it’s just so hard to see. They’re trying that balance of getting him to wake up, and being able to tolerate the pain.
“We’re the house that all the kids come. They’re always here hanging out in and out, in and out, like just all the kids. So to all of his friends I’m like, Guys, don’t do that. Be careful. This can happen. This can happen. I want to let the parents know, you’ve got to be careful with these things, what they’re watching on every device, on every phone, kids phones, iPads, everything. More and more things come out and they want to try it.
“Please listen to somebody who’s not your parent. Please listen to me. Don’t try these things. Don’t, don’t, don’t do it. It’s not worth it. It takes one second for it to not go right for you that you could be in the situation. And not just this particular challenge, but all the dangerous risky stuff that the kids try. I want them to know, just don’t do it. It’s just not worth it. Have fun. There’s so many other things that they can do to have fun than to take those risks that some kids take.”
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