You saw her climb the Manitou Incline April 23rd, 2018 and become the first female double amputee to do so, but that was only the beginning 2,744 steps… On June 10th she not only took on the Incline again but was the first female double amputee to climb all the way to Pikes Peak!!! It took her almost 4 days, using no prosthetics – just her hands and bottom scooting to the top!
What is the purpose of this?
Mandy has a huge heart especially when it comes to veterans and amputees. People have asked what drives her to do things like this, her answer is simple… to help others in hopes of easing their burdens.
She chose two valiantly worthy organizations in order to bring donations to:
“For my birthday fundraiser I want to bring donations and awareness to The Battle Buddy Foundation and Operation Ward 57. I spent a lot of time researching worthy foundations and found that these are remarkable in their individual missions and stories.
I chose The Battle Buddy Foundation because their organization is founded by veteran Kenny Bass, a Marine combat veteran from the Iraqi War who was injured by an IED explosion in 2003. After a grueling recovery process with the V.A. it was determined that he would be left on his own in a last stitch effort to find some solace from PTSD, Depression, Anxiety and a heavy medication load. That solace came in the form of his service dog, Atlas. However, the VA does not cover any part of the acquisition or training of a service animal leaving him to pay at cost nearly $15,000 for Atlas. He decided then that no other veteran should have to experience those struggles. With the help of TBBF President and Marine combat veteran Joshua Rivers, in 2013 the organization was launched. Their mission? Assisting veterans, of all eras, in the acquisition of service dogs, while providing a network of peer support and activity, and promoting education and awareness of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), the current veteran suicide epidemic, and the live saving benefits of highly trained service dogs. All of this with absolutely no cost to the veteran because of generous sponsors, donors, and the incredible support at their fundraising events.
I climbed the incline to raise awareness for PTSD, Depression, Anxiety not because I am a veteran, but because it is something I suffer from as well after being struck by a locomotive in 2014, severing my legs above the knees. Currently, 22 veterans a day commit suicide without ever being given the opportunity to find the solace, that sometimes only “man’s best friend” can provide. I was blessed that my dogs chose me, and on some days they’re the only thing that can bring me out of bed. When I came across the Battle Buddy foundation, I wanted to jump at the opportunity to aid their cause. I feel honored and excited to meet Kenny and Atlas before I hike on!”
Operation Ward 57 Supports wounded, injured and ill service members, veterans, their caregivers and those that aid in their recovery by providing assistance and outreach. They supply amputees with adaptive clothing and morale items to family members and staff such as DVD or gaming consoles, personal patient visits, toys, furniture, financial and material support for the acquisition and training of service animals, holiday events for those unable to leave the hospital, support in the form of advocacy, education, and they even hold concerts and events around the country.
“Personally, I have the philosophy that in traumatic events it is best to surround yourself with people who will carry you, even when you cannot carry yourself. As stated before, I’m not a veteran, but I’ve spent a LOT of time in the hospital. My surgeon was a Desert Storm Fighter Pilot for the USAF and during my recovery I had an amazing team of uplifting caregivers to support me that understood all facets of what I was trying to cope with internally and externally. I had many people local to the surgery visit me, donate necessities to my mother so she could stay with me, and truly uplift my morale when I could not do so myself. Everything that Operation Ward 57 encompasses in support I understand and have a great amount of respect for. They have personally aided a few of my wounded friends that in turn helped me with my recovery.”
“Any excess in donation or funding directed towards this birthday will go to the founding of my own non-profit, I sincerely appreciate everything I look forward to meeting everyone on the way!!!”
To learn more about Mandy and see photos/videos of her journey to the top go to her Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/lifeproofmandyhorvath/