Mason Dark, a 16-year-old from North Carolina, is severely disfigured after an ill-fated attempt at a popular ‘TikTok challenge’ on Sunday, April 23.
Alongside several friends, Mason attempted to use a spray paint can and a lighter to create a makeshift mini flamethrower when the unexpected happened, and flames engulfed the teens.
Mason, in an attempt to soothe the devastating T-shaped third-degree burn on his back and stop the spread of the fire, ripped off his shirt and jumped into the nearby river. The reckless action, however, had further implications as Mason is now highly susceptible to infection from the river water.
Mason was immediately rushed to the University of North Carolina (UNC) Burn Center with extensive burns covering 75% of his exposed skin. Mason’s mother, Holli Dark, could only watch in horror, unable to recognize her own son in the wake of the tragedy.
Holli shared with WRAL her disbelief in the 100-fold transformation and that Mason was “unrecognizable” when first admitted to the burn center. Having undergone several skin graft surgeries, Mason faces six months of medical care with further treatments on the horizon.
The incident is a stark reminder of the consequences of participating in such dangerous TikTok challenges. To help cover Mason’s associated medical costs, his family has set up a GoFundMe.
Mason’s story is a cautionary tale and serves as a reminder of the far-reaching implications of participating in risky activities. Individuals must be aware of inherent dangers and think twice before partaking in activities that could have devastating, permanent consequences.