Amazing Amanda Young Defies All Odds

Twenty-seven-year-old Amanda Young had spinal meningitis three times before she was two.

Each time, doctors told her parents she was going to die. Somehow she lived.

Two weeks before her ninth birthday, doctors amputated her left leg and hip to stop the spread of gas gangrene and clostridia septicemia, a combination of infections that had not been seen since World War II.

Since then, Young has suffered countless life-threatening diseases and conditions, the cause of which mystified doctors for 22 years.

Then, in 2003 after more than two decades of testing, researchers were finally able to identify a genetic defect called IRAK-4 as the basis of her health problems.

As her doctors continue to search for treatments and possibly a cure for her condition, Young has reportedly decided to become a motivational speaker. She says the fact that doctors have been able to name her extremely rare condition and that she may be getting better as she gets older is “a hopeful thing.”

“Just to know that I have a name (for the condition) now is phenomenal," she says. "I went 22 years without knowing what was wrong with me. Twenty-two years later we finally found the name for it. I want people to know that (they should) keep hope. Hope is there. As long as you have it, things can happen.”

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By Lisa Young
CNN Vital Signs

Related links:
A Place for Hope