Amanda Johnson’s Gift To All of Us - Herself

Monday, December 3, 2018
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Amanda Johnson and U Rock sm.jpg
Amanda Johnson
Amanda Johnson ©John Borys

In honoring Mandy’s wishes her husband, James Borchardt shared her story with all of us who knew her. This is a story of not only her journey, but to help us with ours in this lifetime we are all so privileged to belong to. We will add photos here to her image gallery by her long time friend and dressage photographer John Borys. I for one, have stored this message and will remind myself daily if I need to of what Mandy has given to all of us. Thank you Mandy for the gift of your life and all you did for your horses, friends, family and the world we shared with you.
Mary Phelps/Horsesdaily.com

This is James Borchardt, Mandy’s husband. Mandy asked me to tell a little bit of her story. As much of her FB community already knows, Mandy passed away yesterday afternoon after her battle with triple negative breast cancer. 

Mandy was a reserved person and not one to call attention to her challenges or her accomplishments. However, she has given me permission to share this part of her story. Mandy had been fighting a three and half year battle with breast cancer. We found out on October 13, 2017 that Mandy’s breast cancer had returned after about 17 months of remission, and that it had spread to her brain in a form that was incurable with an incredibly poor prognosis. 

Mandy approached her initial breast cancer diagnosis and the news of the recurrence with a courage that was truly inspirational. She resolved to fight back against her renegade cells with a steady determination while focusing on the positive of each day. She did not dwell on the unfair hand she was dealt and instead squeezed the maximum share of love, beauty, fun and professional achievement out of each day she was given. 

James Borchardt and Amanda Johnson
James Borchardt and Amanda Johnson 

As in all other areas of her life, she was goal-focused during her treatment and helped me do the same. As an example of this mindset, while undergoing aggressive chemo this spring and summer, we took a family trip to Europe, and Mandy continued training, riding, and competing her dressage horses. This culminated in her achieving the highest score she had ever received in a musical freestyle on URock. They qualified for the 2018 regional championships and were awarded the 11th place USDF Year End Award for 4th level musical freestyle. 

This example of courage in the face of unrelenting adversity is Mandy’s last gift to those of us that know and love her. When you are feeling sad about her passing, honor her memory by following her lead: focus your mind on the good things that the day brought you and the good things tomorrow will bring if you look for them. 

While some people may see Mandy’s passing as losing her battle with cancer, that is not what happened. She fought each stage of her cancer battle, including the end, on her own terms. Mandy lives on in our hearts, and her cancer will be forgotten.

The family has established the Amanda Johnson Dressage Memorial Fund, a dressage related sponsorship/scholarship in her memory to continue to support Mandy’s love for dressage. In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations in her memory.

A celebration of her life will be in the spring of 2019. Information will be provided at a future date.