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.


  1. What an amazing lady and what an amazing attitude! Her simple but powerful explanation of Jeremiah 29:11 inspired me the most. I’ve known that verse for such a long time, and I’ve quoted it over and over. But hearing someone who has been through what Mandy has been through discuss that scripture with such trust and confidence in the Lord was such an encouragement…and yet so convicting. Heavenly Father, forgive me for my grumbling and complaining and most of all for my lack of trust in You.

    God bless you, Mandy! Thank you for sharing your story!

  2. Your story is both inspirational and humbling. The fact that you choose to look at this as a gift that God has given you is just awe-inspiring. It reminds us to consider all the aspects of problems and not just the first response which is usually “why me”. May the Lord continue to bless you and your work.

  3. God has given you such an awesome platform, Mandy! You can relate to people that a lot of us can’t & get their attention. So glad you’re so willing to allow God to use this in your life. I look forward to following you on Facebook!

  4. I love this story. When little things in my life bring me down, I wonder how I would deal with something as big as this. I guess everyone is given something for a reason. What an inspiration story this is! Thank you for sharing. Love that shirt!!! If we don’t win, we can order one, right?!?!?!

  5. Thank you for being such an inspiration to me Mandy. Words are easy to assign to circumstances that others may encounter, but I know that with God all things are possible. Your testimony has impacted my life and starting today I will praise God even in the storms and pain that this life has brought to me. God bless you!

  6. So encouraged to see you use your story to glorify the Lord. So many times we become bitter or resentful instead of expecting good to come from hard times. May God continue to bless and use you for His purposes. Thanks for sharing.

  7. I share Mandy’s life verse, Jer. 29:11! what an inspiration she is! I liked her FB page and am now a Twitter follower, too. I pray I can be half as positive in my trials.

  8. I so LOVE your name (ha! )! Seriously, my favorite thing is your perspective that God could have given your condition to anyone at any time and He chose to give it and the responsibility that comes with it to YOU! I love that! It takes a strong and WISE woman to see it from that very CORRECT angle!

  9. Thankful that Mandy decided to use her story of losing her leg to bring glory to God! I liked her on Facebook and follow on Twitter.

  10. Wow what an amazing woman…What an inspiration…Jeremiah 29:11.. He does know the plans He has for us and hearing about Mandy’s story shows me that God has a purpose for each one of us and when we’re facing a situation we must not ask “why me Lord” but rather ” May Your will be done Lord”. – 1 like from me…

  11. What wasn’t to like? I liked her on facebook! The fact that it was her parents that encouraged her faith, parents always get the bad rap, it was nice to see the reverse. I also loved her life verse, Jeremiah 29:11. My youngest child was named Jeremiah for this specific verse. Keep sharing your message Mandy and that beautiful smile:)

  12. What a great attitude! That has become my favorite verse too through my recent divorce. I like the way Mandy puts it, that we think we know what’s best for us, but really God does.
    Thanks Mandy and Karen! I liked Mandy on Facebook also.

  13. So inspiring! To see that God CHOSE you & have this disease as your uniqueness is so humbling to hear. May God use you in a tremendous way.

    Liked you on FB, too!!

    (love that shirt!)

  14. Love that she learned to use her story for His glory when most of us wouldn’t be so strong. What courage!

  15. God bless you, Mandy, you are a true inspiration! Your positive attitude in spite of all that has happened in your life is a model for anyone to follow!! Thank you for sharing.

  16. Love your story, your amazing personality and the shirt too. Thank you for sharing – Colleen G.

  17. As a person who has had my share of medical struggles, it is wonderful to hear that there is someone who has not only persevered, but thrived! I went to her FB page and liked her!

  18. Candice is such an inspiration. After suffering a ruptured brain aneurysm in October 2012 I found it hard to not feel sorry for myself. I wanted a vacation not a three week stay in the ICU. When I got home I was frustrated that I couldn’t do all I could before really not recognizing the miracle that God had done in my life. I focused too much on me and not on God. God is so good and his plan is perfect for me even if it meant an ruptured aneurysm. I love Candice’s attitude. It is one area of my life I am trying to improve on. I have so much to be thankful for and I am blessed for sure.

  19. What an inspiration and a blessed role model for us all. It is difficult to always remember that God,s plan is BEST. She is a wonderful reminder of that truth. Thank you Karen for introducing us all to Mandy.

  20. Thanks for sharing about yourself, Mandy. Sometimes as women we can get so bogged down with “our lives” that we forget that we all have a story (no matter how big or small) to share. Your courage inspires me to be less anxious and just let God speak through me. :)

  21. Thanks for sharing your MESSage Mandy! I have often turned to Jeremiah 29:11 as well. I am inspired and encouraged to see God’s plan at work through you!

  22. Awesome testimony!! God Bless You! Really touched my heart…I was diagnosed in the Fall of 2011 with a very rare autoimmune disease called “NMO” (for short)..it affects about 4000 people in the US, no cure & because of how rare it is..it becomes difficult to find doctors that can help. Anyhow, I love how you look at your own situation.. That God chose you and their is a purpose..a good purpose! I am determined to look at my situation in e same light! Thank you so very much for sharing!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *