Survivor of Mystery Illness to Share Testimony at Dimensions on Nov. 19

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Mandy Young to Speak at Gardner-Webb’s Weekly Chapel Service

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. –The Dimensions program at Gardner-Webb University is pleased to announce Mandy Young as a distinguished speaker. The Conyers, Ga., resident will share her testimony on Tuesday, Nov. 19 at 9:25 a.m. in the Tucker Student Center.

Since the age of two, Mandy Young has suffered from a mysterious illness in which her body does not detect an infection until it is life-threatening. She has been hospitalized more than a 100 times due to contracting countless diseases and infections such as spinal meningitis, gas gangrene, salmonella poisoning of the sinuses and an abdominal abscess. At the age of eight, her leg was amputated because of infection and she has been near death several times. Young finally found an answer for her health crisis in 2003 at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md. She was diagnosed with IRAK-4 deficiency, an extremely rare genetic mutation that affects her body’s ability to create a protein needed to fight bacteria, leaving her vulnerable to life-threatening infections.  There are only 20 known cases of IRAK-4 deficiency, and Young is the oldest patient.

“I know God gave me my disease for a reason; it’s not for my purpose, but for his.  My life is not about me; unlike what my generation so wants us to believe, it’s about him,” said Young. “And knowing that God is in charge of my life gives me hope for those things that seem so unclear, like my disease and living without answers for so many years.”

Her condition seems to be improving and doctors now believe she could grow completely out of it. Even though this illness has nearly taken Young’s life several times she still sees her sickness as God’s grace. Now Young travels around to country to share the testimony of her illness and how her struggles brought her closer to God. Fully aware that everybody has obstacles in their life, she adamantly believes that the Lord is the answer to every question.

“While the college years are some of the best, they can also be some of the most challenging,” said Dr. Tracy Jessup, vice president for Christian Life and Service and senior minister to the University.  “I hear stories almost daily of students who are facing various obstacles that threaten to drain their resolve.  I believe that Mandy’s testimony is one which will remind our students of the faithfulness of our God who is able to take our difficult circumstances and use them to bring glory and honor to his name.”

Gardner-Webb University’s Dimensions programs are free and open to the public. The goal of Dimensions is to enhance the spiritual, intellectual and cultural life at the University and also to promote a sense of community. Dimensions programs are held on Tuesday at 9:25 a.m. in the Tucker Student Center. More information is available by calling 704-406-4277.

Located in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb University offers a comprehensive academic experience that introduces students to the diverse world of ideas and to the people who think them, preparing them for professional success and for productive citizenship.