A stunning student whose legs were ripped off by a train has captured her journey climbing to the top of the Statue of Liberty’s crown – using just her hands.
Mandy Horvath lost both of her legs above the knee after she was hit by a coal train near a bar she had been to in Steele City, Nebraska.
However, determined not to let her disability hold her back, Mandy, now 26, is taking on challenges even able bodied people would not.
Aiming high: Double amputee Mandy Horvath lost her legs after she was hit by a train in July 2014, however she hasn’t let that stop her from living an active, adventurous lifestyle
Success: In September, the 26-year-old climbed to the top of the Statue of Liberty, using just her arms to drag herself up the stairs inside the iconic tourist attraction
There she goes: Mandy, who lives in Colorado, has scaled a 14,000-foot mountain, however she said that reaching the top of the statue was particularly special to her ‘as an American’
Moving on: The adventurer lost her legs after she was hit by a coal train following a night out, during which she believes she was drugged
On September 28, the double-amputee climbed to the top of the Statue of Liberty’s crown using just the strength in her arms to pull her up.
The climb, which saw Mandy drag herself up over 250 steps, took only seven minutes to complete and was captured on camera.
Mandy, who lives in Colorado Springs, said: ‘I have already climbed two mountains since losing my legs, but this climb was something special.
‘Being an American, it was amazing to be able to climb up such a huge monument in our culture that is recognized around the world.
‘I had never been to see Lady Liberty before but it was always something that I wanted to do, so I wasn’t going to let my disability stop me.
‘I want to show people that anything is really possible and you just have to put your mind to it – if I can come through everything I have been through, then others can to.
Therapy: She says that climbing helps her to cope with the PTSD she has suffered with since the accident
Up and away: Mandy hopes that her climbing successes will help to inspire others to overcome their disabilities
Meaningful: ‘I had never been to see Lady Liberty before but it was always something that I wanted to do, so I wasn’t going to let my disability stop me,’ Mandy said
Impressive: During her climb up the statue, Mandy had to conquer 250 stairs
‘Climbing also helps a lot with the PTSD that I have suffered since my incident – and being able to see the view from the crown, as the sun was rising, was an unforgettable moment.’
Mandy had gone on a night out with some new friends in July 2014.
On her night out she only drank two bottles of beer and two shots, and believes one of the drinks was drugged.
After waking up in an ambulance, Mandy was astonished to discover that she had been hit by a train hundreds of yards from the bar.
She thinks that someone slipped something into her drink, and then left her for dead on the tracks.
Mandy added: ‘I was having a great night until this happened.
‘I remember taking my last drink of the night outside to have a cigarette.
Devastating: Mandy cannot remember the accident, and only recalls waking up in the back of an ambulance, when she was told that she had lost her legs
Out and about: Before her accident, Mandy was fun-loving and very outdoorsy
Memories: Mandy, pictured second from left on a night out before her accident, says she remembers having a great time at the bar before her accident
Change: ‘The next moment I woke up I was in the back of an ambulance and was being told that my legs were ripped off [after I was] hit by a train,’ Mandy recalled
‘The next moment I woke up I was in the back of an ambulance and was being told that my legs were ripped off [after I was] hit by a train.
‘It’s suspected that I was given a date rape drug, but that couldn’t be confirmed because they couldn’t do a blood panel test on me when I was in hospital.
‘I had to stay in the hospital for months to receive surgery on what was left of my legs, but whilst I was in there I was determined that this wasn’t going to destroy me.
‘From then on I focused on getting myself up and walking again, I’ve always been very active and knew straight away that I’d get through it.’
Since then, Mandy has worked hard to prove that her disability will not stop her from living a full and active life, serving as an inspiration to many with her incredible accomplishments, including her summit of the 14,000-foot Pikes Peak in June 2018.
She then repeated that accomplishment this year, having also climbed the more than 2,700 steps of the Manitou Incline hiking trail.
Struggle: After her accident, Mandy began secretly battling alcoholism
Painful: She had to spend months in hospital undergoing several surgeries, and learning how to walk with her prosthetics
Slow and steady: ‘Whilst I was in [the hospital] I was determined that this wasn’t going to destroy me,’ Mandy recalled
Support: With the help of therapists like Shannon (pictured right), Mandy learned to move again, both with and without the use of prosthetic legs
However, Mandy’s recovery has not been without its struggles, and in August 2018, she made headlines again when she was arrested for allegedly driving drunk and assaulting a paramedic.
Months later, in May 2019, she revealed in an interview with KOAA that she had been secretly struggling with an alcohol addiction for years, admitting that she had done many of her TV appearances while under the influence.
Speaking of the night that she was arrested, Mandy recalled trying to commit suicide as she was being arrested.
‘I began striking my head on the pavement,’ she shared. ‘Had it not been for that EMT trying o restrain me from trying to harm myself in my alcohol-induced psychosis, I wouldn’t be here.’
It was only during the aftermath of the arrest that Mandy came to terms with the fact that she was struggling with alcoholism.
‘I couldn’t stop drinking even if I wanted to,’ she said. ‘I would wake up and my hands would shake violently. My head would pound. I’d be vomiting.’
Overcoming obstacles: Mandy was arrested in August 2018 on suspicion of driving while drunk, and it was then that she started to face up to her alcohol problem
Healthy living: Since then, Mandy has committed to a sober lifestyle
Out and about: She is now focused on putting her disability to a good use to raise awareness for charities who have helped her in the past
Raising money: Mandy’s summit of Lady Liberty was done in order to raise funds for Cars4Heroes, an organization that helped her after her accident
Mandy admitted herself to hospital in order to allow her body to ‘go through withdrawals’, and soon after, she voluntarily entered inpatient rehab. She has been sober ever since, and says she is committed to that lifestyle.
Now, she is focusing fully on her mission to put her disability to a good use to raise awareness for charities who have helped her in the past.
She said: ‘Although climbing Lady Liberty is on a smaller scale than the mountains, it’s something that is very well recognized worldwide so will hopefully help raise a lot of awareness for Cars4Heroes who gave me after my incident.
‘Alongside this, I hope that videos of my challenges help inspire others to get up and do something.
‘I want this to help anybody who is going through a darker time – I went through the worst time imaginable and look at me now.’
Mandy completed the climb on behalf of Cars4Heroes, to donate please visit: www.paypal.me/cars4heroes