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Amanda "Mandy" Hendrickson was born November 18, 1994, in Denver, Colorado to loving parents, Derek Hendrickson [from New Jersey] and Marcia Johnson [from South Dakota]. She was bright, smart, and happy. She was joined in her journey when her sweet sister, Samantha "Sammi" Hendrickson was born in 1996. Mandy had developmental delays and by the age of 5, Mandy was diagnosed with epilepsy,that started with eye rolling. She was a good student thanks to her early education from Little Footprints in Littleton, and Bal Swan preschool in Broomfield. It was in Broomfield, that Mandy found her love for horses when she got to ride "Buck" at Mita Sunka horseback therapy. Derek and Marcia were divorced in 1999, but shared custody of the girls. Mandy's education continued at Wildcat Elementary, Fox Creek Elementary, and Cresthill Middle School in Highlands Ranch. Mandy's maternal grandparents, Alan and Betty Johnson, moved from Redfield, South Dakota to help take care of the girls. Also, Marcia's sisters and brother, neices and nephews all helped to give Mandy a great life. Mandy's New Jersey grandparents, Donald and Joan Hendrickson, and Derek's sisters and niece and nephew were supportive from afar.
At age 9 Mandy's epileptic seizures increased and the medications weren't sufficient to control her frequent petit mal seizures. Mandy underwent brain surgery at the Minnesota Epilepsy Group in St. Paul, MN. That surgery reduced her seizure activity dramatically. Mandy had a love of family get-togethers and swimming. She enjoyed family trips to the Rocky Mountains and Disney resorts in California and Florida. Mandy was an avid reader of animal and bird books and she memorized many statistics from those books. She also loved playing her computer and video games and especially loved Sonic the Hedgehog. Mandy went to Highlands Ranch High School and graduated with the support of the special ed department. She enjoyed the trails and deer watching while living in Parker, CO. Mandy eventually started having grand mal seizures and in the end, epilepsy took it's toll and she died of sudden death by epilepsy which is known as "SUDEP." She believed in paying it forward and was an organ donor. Her brain was donated to the SUDEP Research program at New York University in an effort to help others. Mandy is deeply missed by all who knew her sweet smile, quick wit and giant hugs. She was always optimistic and her frequent saying was "This has been the Best Day of my Life!"
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