Eight years after a massive stroke at age 45, her mom writes: “She can’t read, but she figures out from the pictures and a few words she has learned, what is going on politically…. She is not depressed. She is content. She says hello to you.”
On this day each year since 2014, we have remembered our first and former Editor, Mandy Nagy, severely injured by a massive stroke at the age of 45. We made a promise in those early days to keep a seat warm for Mandy should she ever be able to return, but it’s not to be.
At one level it’s an incredibly painful memory, at another level it’s a story of how Mandy’s loving and heroic family, particularly her mom, has helped her achieve a relatively stable life.
For those of you new to this story, Mandy was a writer at Legal Insurrection starting in June 2013, joining us after a storied time as Andrew Breitbart’s key researcher. Over Labor Day weekend 2014, we made plans for Mandy to become our first full time employee to manage the website.
Mandy’s Twitter account, where she was active, last tweeted on September 3, 2014.
At 9:42 a.m. on Sunday, September 7, 2014, I received an email at our “contact” email address from an email account I did not recognize with the subject line “Mandy Nagy”:
I hope this email is directed to you and not Mandy. I am Mandy’s mother. Mandy is in the hospital. She had a stroke early Saturday morning. She is unable to speak and cannot move the right side of her body. If you would like to contact me, I can be reached at: xxx-xxx-xxxx
I am also going to go to her home and look on her computer to see if I can find your contact information.
Ginny Nagy Ashrafi
The day before I had emailed Mandy, but she didn’t respond. That was very unlike her, and upon receiving her mother’s email, I knew why.
Later that day, I alerted the readership and provided frequent updates that day, Pray for Mandy Nagy:
Our beloved Mandy Nagy, also known as Liberty Chick, had a stroke yesterday and brain surgery to relieve the pressure today.
I am in touch with Mandy’s mom, who approved me letting people know via Legal Insurrection. Before surgery, Mandy also was able to nod approval with a small smile, her mom tells me….
We’re praying for Mandy, and keeping her seat at Legal Insurrection warm awaiting her return, however long it takes.
There was an outpouring of support for Mandy, including among the Legal Insurrection readership.
My wife and I visited Mandy in the hospital soon after her surgery. We got to meet Mandy’s mother and stepfather as well. I read Mandy comments by Legal Insurrection readers wishing her well and sharing their love for her.
Update 5:15 p.m. 9-16-2014 — My visit with Mandy.
My wife and I visited Mandy today in the hospital. She clearly knew who I was, and reacted positively to me reading to her reader comments. She often laughed, and clearly was moved, nodding her head when I asked her if she recognized some of the names I thought she would know (both real names, and some of our regular commenters who use pseudonyms). She listened carefully as I read the comments and tweets. I asked her if she knew what a Thunderclap was, and she nodded yes, and I told her about our Thunderclap for her, and the statistics on it. It was hard for me to hold it together as I read to her the reaction and outpouring of love from so many people. I know she heard you.
I told her that there always will be a place for her at Legal Insurrection, no matter in what capacity, but that she needed to focus now on getting better. As to getting better, the prognosis is hopeful according to the doctors, but I don’t want to kid you, she has a long road ahead of her.
We are organizing, with the family, a fundraiser for Mandy, but it’s complicated given her situation. Ours will be the only “official” fundraiser, so don’t believe it if someone else tells you they are raising funds for her. I hope to have more information next week.
I’m heartbroken that Mandy has to go through this, but I’m hopeful that with good medical care and support from family, friends and the blogosphere, she’ll make it through and come back to us.
If you read no other post of Mandy’s, please read Mandy’s 2013 post, Remembering September 11th and the importance of loved ones and endurance:
September 11th taught me the importance of family and loved ones in our lives, as well as the compassion of those we may not know, and that we can never, ever take life for granted.
Each year we have updated Mandy’s condition as reported to us by her mom. You can read all the updates here (and at the bottom of this post). As I do each year, I reached out to Mandy’s Mom. I received the following update yesterday:
Thank you for remembering Mandy. We are okay. I hope your family is doing well also.
Mandy’s condition has remained the same physically. Cognitively she has improved somewhat. She is on her iPad much of the day instead of watching tv. She listens to classical music and looks at the news. She can’t read, but she figures out from the pictures and a few words she has learned, what is going on politically. The internet now interests her. Her understanding of all that is happening around her is much better than it was in previous years. There are times she sees someone on FOX News and points, saying “I know her/him”. When I look back many years ago, I remember her explaining to me and my family the danger that was coming to our country. She named people none of us had ever heard of until the last few years, i.e. George Soros. All the things she was saying are now happening. We never thought what she was talking about could ever happen in this country, but it is.
We purchased an electric wheelchair for her since she cannot operate a manual one with her hands because she only has one hand that’s functioning. She still uses a manual chair but moves it with her feet, and she walks short distances using a cane. She uses the electric chair outside at my home where she has room to roam. At present she is staying with me because her roommate is in the hospital, and she cannot be left on her own. She is not depressed. She is content. She says hello to you. Thank you again for thinking of her.
Ginny Ashrafi Nagy
It’s not true that time heals all wounds. We worry about Mandy’s future, who will take care of her, and what will become of her. Fortunately she has a loving and supportive family.
It’s been just over one year (9/6/14) since Mandy had her stroke.
In the first few months she went from being unconscious to opening her eyes every now and then. She was missing the left side of her skull for four months, was deaf and blind on her right side and had a feeding tube for several months. She was bedridden for two months.
After about six months of rehab she has recovered enough to walk small distances by herself with a cane but no other assistance. She is still paralyzed partially on her right side. She has no use of her right arm, but her right leg is functioning enough to walk a little. She spends much of the day in a wheelchair. She seems to be able to hear and see again on her right side. Her speech has improved slightly. She can say a few words and I am teaching her to speak in sentences.
I have tried to get her interested in using the internet and email again, but have been unsuccessful.
She is very slowly learning to do simple everyday tasks on her own. Over the year she has had to learn how to do things we learn as children such as using utensils to eat or brush teeth.
I have to read print to her since she says she only recognizes and knows the meaning of some words. However, she understands most of what I am saying to her….
Mandy, Victor and I are very grateful to all of the people who have donated and sent good wishes over the past year. It’s incredible to me that she knows so many people that care….
Mandy still needs help with everything: bathing, dressing, walking, cooking, etc. She can only speak and read a few words. She mainly identifies things by pictures. She wears a brace on her right leg and needs spotting while walking short distances. Her right arm is paralyzed and her right leg is partially paralyzed. She is very disabled. I do my best to take care of her needs. She seems content and not depressed.
It’s been three years and a very challenging time for Mandy, Victor and me. Her situation, for now, is stable.
Her condition has stayed the same for the past year. She can walk very slowly for short distances with a cane. She has no use of her right arm and very little of her right leg. She needs assistance everyday with bathing, dressing, cleaning and meal preparation.
She cannot form words except for no, hi, okay and a few other words. She can’t read and doesn’t understand things she should.
People she should know, she doesn’t unless I show her a picture of them. She doesn’t understand instructions. I gave her a brush to use in the shower and she didn’t know what it was or what to do with it. Even after I showed her how to use it, she just stared at it confused.
So, this is where we are. It is a sad situation but she is comfortable and hopefully content. It’s not a very good life, but it is life.
I hope you and your family are well. Thank you again for thinking of Mandy.
Not much has changed. She was hospitalized once a few months ago. We thought she had another stroke but it was a seizure. She still has an aide assisting her each day and I fill in on Sundays, holidays and days when the aide is not available.
Her only improvement occurred about six months ago when she became interested in the music playing on my IPhone. It always puzzled her family that she lost interest in music after the stroke, since music was such an important part of her life. Anyway, I downloaded music she likes on her IPad. She can’t read who the artist is, but she can identify the photo of the artist. So, now she listens to music often. Her doctors had said that music is good for recovery. It took four years, but better late than never.
I’ll let Mandy know you asked about her.
Thank you for thinking of Mandy each year. Mandy’s condition remains pretty much the same except that her ability to walk is decreasing.
Since her right side is paralyzed, with some feeling in that leg, she needs more support than previously to walk. Despite our efforts to get her up and exercising, she now depends on her wheelchair more often than before. I used to be able to transport her from her place to mine using a cane. But now she needs to use her chair and I need another person to help with getting her up a few steps whereas before I could get her up the steps by myself.
However, she seems to be a bit sharper in her thinking. Although she still cannot talk, except for a few words, she is now remembering some small things that she hadn’t before. For instance, she remembered it is her brother’s birthday. Normally that’s not something she thinks about or would remember. I was surprised. She seems content and not depressed. It’s hard for us to see how that can be, but it is. She listens to music on her IPad and watches HGTV much of the day. A home health aide comes every day to take care of her and I fill in on Sundays and holidays.
Again, it is kind of you to remember her. I hope you and your family are well.
P.S. I saw your interview on FOX a while ago. I think it was with Tucker Carlson.
Once again, thank you for thinking of Mandy each year at this time.
Her condition has changed in a few different ways. Physically, she has more trouble walking. Her right side is paralyzed except for enough feeling in her right leg to make it possible to walk. In the past year, that feeling has diminished making walking more unstable. Cognitively, she seems better. She has learned to understand and write a few words on paper. She also has become more interested in the internet. And, when I bring up politics and the sad state the county is in, she seems to understand. She’s aware of how President Trump supporters are attacked while the Democrat media and politicians get away with most anything. I called her one night when you were a guest on Tucker Carlson and told her to watch. She and I also have seen you on other shows, I think Fox and Friends. She remembers you!
… Mandy’s sister and I now realize how Mandy knew about the groups financed by people like George Soros. We didn’t understand back then, but we are amazed how much she knew before the rest of us. I am sorry you have to go through what you are experiencing. It shouldn’t be this way. I hope this country sees what many of us see and stop the madness. Anyway, I am encouraging her to get involved again and look at the news on the internet and TV because for years she had no interest.
She still needs someone to care for her every day. Her spirits are up and she seems content.
I see her on Sundays and this past Sunday, when I walked in, she was watching the video below on her IPAD. I was surprised because she doesn’t know how to spell but apparently she is slowly learning. I asked her if her roommate pulled that up for her and she said no, she did. I suppose she knows how to spell her name and that’s how she was able to find this. It is also an indication that she is interested once again in politics and wants to learn what was, and presently happening.
I’m sorry I haven’t responded sooner to your email. I just realized today is the date of her stroke seven years ago. She continues to live in an apartment, with an aide daily and me on Sundays and holidays, taking care of her needs.
Her physical condition has unfortunately deteriorated somewhat, so that she has more trouble walking. But her cognitive abilities seem to have improved. Although she can’t read or write, and has very little speech, she likes to look at the internet and manages to find things of interest there. She has also regained some of her interest in music, and can find songs by photos.
Occasionally, her memory has surprised us, for example, pointing at the calendar and calling out a family member’s name on that person’s birthday. I am looking into getting her a motorized wheelchair because I feel she is ready to operate it, although still confined within her apartment or our home.
Thank you so much for remembering her.
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