Paralyzed NU grad keeps fighting with new book |

Paralyzed NU grad keeps fighting with new book

Like a floored prizefighter, Jill Mason has to yank herself off the canvas to battle in the bout that is now her life.

The Nevada Union High School graduate was left paralyzed and with a traumatic brain injury on Easter 2004, after a drunk driver hit her and killed her soulmate, Alan Liu, while they were bicycling in Santa Rosa.

After a lengthy recovery that included Mason relearning how to feed and cloth herself, Mason has been working for the Every 15 Minutes program. Now, she goes into high schools across Northern California and teaches students the consequences of drinking and driving – which take an American life every quarter of an hour.

Mason also has completed a book about her experience, “Couldn’t Happen to Me: A Life Changed by Paralysis and Traumatic Brain Injury.”

She will present her book and sign copies today from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at The Book Seller, 107 Mill St., in downtown Grass Valley.

“I’m speaking a lot for the Every 15 Minutes program and selling my book, which is doing phenomenally well,” Mason said from her South Sacramento home Friday. After she speaks at high schools, “the kids buy it.”

“Writing it was therapeutic,” but difficult, Mason added. She had the help of her paternal aunt, Carol Mason, an East Coast editor.

“My brain injury is so unpredictable, the writing style kept changing,” Mason said. As an editor, “it was challenging for her.”

“It’s difficult for her to get validation, so this is great,” said Mason’s mother, Joanne Mason, who lives with Jill’s father, Larry Mason, in Grass Valley. “She’s always been a great writer, and it’s nice the brain injury hasn’t taken that from her.”

“I always wanted to write a book, and this gave me the topic,” Mason said. “I’m excited to see people up there.”

If you can’t get a copy of Mason’s book at The Book Seller, you can order it by e-mailing her at

For more information about Mason, visit online at

To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail or call (530) 477-4237.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User