Women Who Turned Their Mess Into Their Message: Part Three: Mandy Young

This is the final installment in the series about women who turned their mess into their message. You are about to meet one of my favorite people EVER!

I met Mandy at a Hearts at Home conference in March. I was speaking and so was the woman to whom she serves as an assistant, Candace Cameron Bure.

I was excited to meet Candace after having done some online ministry with her through a magazine site she’d started. I never dreamed I’d come home even more excited about meeting her assistant! {Sorry Candace!}

Mandy Young is a breathtaking woman. Her smile, her friendly personality, her mind-blowing story—they all take your breath away.

Mandy only has one leg. And she has a wild story as to why. But that isn’t the important fact. What matters most is that Mandy also knows the one true God. She’s determined that her life here on earth is not at ALL about her. It is all about Him.

Meet her now:

Photo by Susan Crutchfield photography

“What happened to your leg?” is a question that Mandy Young is asked everyday. But there is no easy answer. She has lived a life that most would not choose to live. From staying months at a time in hospitals, to 27+ years of research, to being diagnosed as the only person in the world that has her genetic defect. And while her life has been a roller coaster ride of ups and downs, she wouldn’t change a single day.

Growing up, she was consumed with illness. But the most devastating was when she lost her left leg and hip to a massive infection.

Her story has been featured in countless newspaper articles like USA Today, in Good Housekeeping Magazine and on T.V. shows like Extra, Montel Williams, NBC Nightly News and international programming like CNN’s Medical Mysteries. She has been honored to be the spokesperson for several organizations and the “Face of Hope” for the new Undiagnosed Diseases Program at the National Institutes of Health.

She’s a southern social butterfly; who loves her family, friends, sweet tea, the color pink and most of all the Lord! She believes she’s one of the cheesiest people you’ll know and that the simple things in life are the best. And long ago she realized her life was too complicated to handle on her own, but with Him everything got easier. “Sometimes I have to remind myself of three things. God will only give you what you can handle, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and when you start to doubt that’s when God gives you more to prove that you can get through it.” says Mandy. And she does it all with a smile on her face.

While sitting at a Christian Women’s Conference she realized “God gave you a story, a personality that has never met a stranger and a mouth that never stops talking…Mandy THIS is what you’re supposed to be doing!! And giving Him the glory for it all!!” So, with her contagious spirit, warm smile and Jesus loving heart, she began sharing her testimony in hopes of helping others overcome obstacles they may be facing.

Mandy with one of her many doctors, Dr. Gallin.

Mandy, tell us what your childhood was like and what your parents discovered was different about you?  Well I started getting life threatening infections at 9 months old and as soon as one was gone another would come along; so honestly my childhood was mostly spent in a hospital or in isolation.  I know that sounds sad but honestly it wasn’t that bad.  My parents tried to give me as much of a normal childhood as they could while following doctors orders.

What incident led to you losing your leg?  There is no easy way to answer this question! Basically I was playing with my sister and I got a small cut on my leg and it got infected.  Because I have a crazy little disease it created it’s own infection of Gas gangrene and Clostridial septicemia.  Even after the amputation I was only given less than a 3% chance to live and I was the first documented case to have the two infections together since World War 2.

How did you keep from getting bitter and turning away from God? What made you turn to Him instead? I have to credit this to my parents.  Faith and laughter have always been a huge part of our lives, through the good and the bad days.  And because of their example and guidance I’ve never questioned why God does what He does.

How has losing your leg helped you find your purpose in life? It wasn’t just my leg; it was I realized that God has given me me this genetic mutation that NO ONE else is in the world has.  That He could have given this to anyone at any point in time in life and He gave it to ME! What a responsibility but I’m happy to do whatever it is that He asks me to do!

Mandy with Candace and with Kirk :-)



FUN FACT: losing your leg also led to you meeting Kirk Cameron and not only becoming friends with his family but becoming his sister Candace’s assistant. Let us hear about that. I’ve
been friends with the Cameron Family for 23 years.  But they aren’t just my friends they are honestly like my family.  I call them all my sisters and brother and their parents are my California parents! I met Kirk when I was in the hospital when I lost my leg.  Then my family and I went to Cali for a long weekend and got to go to the sets of Growing Pains and Full House.  Then I attended Kirk’s Camp Firefly (if you don’t know about this camp you should www.campfirefly.com). And now 23 years later we one big happy family!!

My assistant Kim, me, Mandy & Candace.

What one piece of advice would you give to anyone who is facing a hard place in life—something they never asked for but was done to them anyway? God’s plan is always better than what we have planned for ourselves! This is where my life verse comes in to play Jeremiah 29:11.  He gives us a promise that He isn’t trying to harm us but always do what is best for us! It’s hard because we think we know what is best for us but we don’t have a clue! And once I gave that control up my life got so much easier!

Thanks Mandy! {See, I knew you’d love her too!}

Mandy is giving away one of her Lovin’ Life T-shirts to someone who comments on this post. So, tell us what you loved about her amazing story! Oh and be sure to connect with her on Twitter, over at her site and on Facebook {She currently has 832 “Likes” I say we get that to over 1,000. You In? Let me know you liked her page on Facebook or followed her on Twitter and your name will be entered twice for the t-shirt. Thanks!}

All winners from this series announced on Monday.

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