Sometimes it takes a really horrible thing for us to realize the true meaning of life. Under the most terrible of circumstances, a little light is waiting to shine inside of us, one that can brighten the darkest of days.
This perfectly describes the woman in the following story, who suffered a terrible accident after an innocent night out with friends. What happened nearly took her life, and it actually took her legs, but it didn’t take her spirit…
Featured photo credit: www.storytrender.com
It Started As A Fun Night
The last thing Mandy, 24, remembers on one night in 2014, was going outside a bar to smoke a cigarette. She had been drinking at a bar with her friends in Steele City, Kansas when she blacked out and woke up in an ambulance with medics all around her.
Her Worst Nightmare
Mandy was hit by a train traveling at 50mph and the doctors were battling to save her life. She believes she was spiked with a date-rape drug and was left for dead on the train tracks because when she was found, it was 1 mile and a half away from the bar…
Unusually Out Of It
She had no memory of getting there, even though she didn’t have a lot to drink (two beers and two shots), which her blood alcohol level showed, as well as her bar tab. Mandy does remember going outside of the bar to smoke a cigarette and she felt hazy.
“It All Goes Hazy”
When she was found, doctors initially thought she had tried to commit suicide and by the time she could tell that what she remembered, it was too late. “My last memory is smoking a cigarette outside and then it all goes hazy- the next thing I know, I’m in an ambulance with no legs.”
When a paramedic told Mandy that her legs were gone, she started to panic, trying to kick them in the air. But, it was only after she saw blood everywhere that she knew it was true. It was a beyond terrifying moment in Mandy’s life and after the accident, she had to stay in the hospital for months while doctors tried to perform surgery to salvage her leg tissue.
One Year Later
Yet despite numerous surgeries, the remaining bones on Mandy’s legs began to grow, which led to them being amputated again. “It was heartbreaking because, despite 12 months of recovery, I still wasn’t able to learn to walk again.” It wasn’t until one year later, in April 2015, that Mandy was able to try using prosthetic legs…
Living With Her New Reality
She remembers the first prosthetics she was given and that they were suction sockets. But because her body weight was fluctuating regularly, it meant that her prosthetics would easily fall off. It wasn’t until she moved from Kansas to Colorado that she was able to get better prosthetics and she began learning to walk with them.
The Light At The End Of The Tunnel
Before her accident, Mandy was an active person, and it took months for her to find her confidence again. As most people in her situation would, Mandy Horvath fell into a deep depression. Years later, she still suffers from post-traumatic stress, but she became determined to be the same person she was before her accident. In fact, she was about to become the most active she’s ever been in her life…
One Resilient Woman
Four years after the incident, Mandy Horvath was about to climb a mountain, that’s right, with no legs. Her father remembers something a doctor said during Mandy’s long recovery path: “She’s gonna do things, she’s gonna go places, and nothing’s gonna stop her.”
Mandy found the outdoors to be the platform to inspire her. Her first climb was an incline trek to raise awareness for Limb Loss Awareness Month. But how would a double leg amputee climb a mountain?
On her hands, of course. She used her hands to propel her up and despite suffering battered hands, Mandy became addicted to the adrenaline. She went on to become the first female double amputee to climb the famous Manitou Incline, a trail that climbs to 2,000 in less than a mile.
Next up, she planned to climb Pikes Peak, also known as America’s Mountain, located outside of Colorado, Springs, Colorado. Daniel Pond, an experienced climber, and friend was going to accompany Mandy as it would be a difficult climb, which would last three days. Although she had conquered the other mountains, this one was on a whole different level of difficulty…
Climbing Pikes Peek On Her 25th Birthday
The same day Mandy turned 25, she began the trek up Pikes Peak. The climb took place right after she attended a media event to promote two nonprofits she raised money for during the climb: The Battle Buddy Foundation and Operation Ward 57. As she began her climb, there were cameras surrounding her, documenting every moment.
The Views Made Up For The Pain She Felt
During the trek, Mandy was exhausted but saw views that made her feel alive and she recalled the lyrics by singer/songwriter, John Moreland. “I don’t want to come back down to earth/No, I don’t want to come back down to earth. My heart is growing heavy from the ever-endless hurt/So I don’t want to come back down to earth,” the lyrics read. But despite her inner voice telling her to keep pushing, Mandy was fighting through fatigue she didn’t know she could overcome…
Positive Words Of Encouragement From Her Family
Thankfully, she fought through the pain and frustration during the climb which she did solely with her hands and butt. It was difficult for her but her brother cheered her on, shouting, “Don’t stop! We’re very, very proud of you!” They were words that kept her going and she continued crawling. Mandy’s mother, Lisa Horvath, cheered, “That’s my baby, that’s my baby…Go Mandy! Go!”
It Was A Sign
A little over 74 hours and 7,600 ft of elevation later, Mandy had reached the mountaintop and just as she did, a rainbow arched above her. She fell into her family’s arms and they told her that the rainbow was “God’s way of saying, He’s gonna bless you and bless everybody.” After that…
Mandy was more determined than ever. She was so proud of herself and she felt confident for the first time in a long time. After reaching the top of Pikes Peak, Mandy felt encouraged to tackle another area of her life that she’d neglected: her dating life.
New Tinder Profile
Not only did Mandy update her climbing resume, she also updated her dating profile on Tinder. While there was nothing funny that happened to Mandy that night in July 2014, she used her tragic circumstances as fuel for her hilarious and all-too-real Tinder profile. It read…
“Disclaimer: I don’t have legs, but don’t worry- I’m taking it in my stride…Just roll with it okay?” Mandy continued, “My life was a train wreck (literally hit by a f***ing train), here are some awesome benefits from it: “I’ll never run away from you. Front row parking. Technically I can still doggy paddle. I even have sexy land roving bionic legs.”
Her Driving Force
“Face: 10/10. Body 8/10. Legs: 0.5/2. My Anthem: She Ain’t Got No Legs- Bloodhound Gang.” Mandy says that since her accident, humor has been the driving force that has made her recovery a lot easier. Today she continues to remain strong and does it all with an incredible sense of humor and a smile.