More than 40 people gathered outside Union Karate Center Monday evening to honor the memory of Amanda Kaye Davis “Mandy” Vaughn.
Mandy Vaughn passed away on Sept. 3 at age 32 as result of complications from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy — a disease of the heart in which a portion of the myocardium muscle thickens without any obvious cause.
Many of Vaughn’s loved ones remember her for her giving nature and genuine concern for others, and they organized “Miles for Mandy,” an ongoing memorial which began Monday.
Amanda Crow Gibson said she and Carolyn Martin began walking with their friend Mandy during the summer.
“She had started to lose weight and had lost about 40 pounds,” Gibson said. “We started walking together when karate started during the summer.”
The three were in a ladies’ karate class on Mondays — taught by Mandy’s husband Jamie — and met at the Union Karate Center the rest of the week to walk for exercise. Gibson said two trips on foot from the karate center to the other end of the shopping center and back equal one mile.
“Mandy walked every day despite how bad she felt and never complained, not once,” Jamie said.
Gibson said she and Martin talked and decided it would be a good idea to continue the daily walks in Vaughn’s memory and invite her friends and family to do the same.
Her husband Jamie and 10-year-old daughter Jordan joined Mandy’s parents, siblings and friends at the event. Balloons in Vaughn’s favorite colors — purple and yellow — were released and a prayer was said before all in attendance made the mile-long walk.
“It was a success and it reaffirmed for me what an incredibly special person I had the priviledge of calling my wife,” Jamie said.
The daily walks will continue each day at 6 p.m.
“She was one of those angels on earth,” Gibson said. “There will be somebody walking in her memory every day at 6, whether it’s two of us or twenty of us.”
A facebook page — “Miles for Mandy-In Loving Memory of Amanda Kaye Davis Vaughn” — displays photos from Monday’s first-ever “Miles for Mandy” walk along with comments from loved ones.