Everyone is obsessed with numbers. Students want to know what their grades are, customers constantly ask the price of an item, and athletes look for the score of an important game. When people find out about what I do, the first question they have is always ‘How much have you raised?’ Quite honestly, I don't know the answer to that question. It was never important to me and really wasn't something I kept track of. The only way I could even give an estimate is by counting up all the donations I have made. When I started Andie’s Confections, I wasn't looking to start a business. I was ignoring the numbers and doing what I thought was right.
My inspiration stemmed from those around me. It was no one in particular, but rather a collection of people and the aura that they created. The Leukemia Cup Regatta was a fundraising event that my family had been participating in for years, and being surrounded by so many individuals who were incredibly dedicated to serving a higher cause was motivating. These folks gave their time, their money and some even gave up their careers as professionals to help better the lives of others. At 11 years old, I decided I wanted in on the action. I wanted to do something to make a difference and to be a part of something great, a positive change in the world.
I was extremely passionate about all things culinary so I decided to try to take my passion and use it to help people. I started sifting through ideas, thinking I could make and sell frozen cookie dough or even pies. Eventually, I decided on fudge, a dessert I had never even made before; a baseless whim, spur of the moment, a completely random decision.
My offhand decision served me well. People loved my fudge and once they heard that all of the proceeds were being donated to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, their interest grew. Although I soon surpassed my initial goal of $200, I decided I was nowhere near done. As demands grew so did Andie’s Confections, and soon enough I had a logo, social media pages and a website. I had raised enough that I was able to give to more than one cause including Dog Days Adoption Events and Kids for Kids, both local charities that help to improve the community. Many times I was able to attend events where the donations were presented to the families. Seeing the look on a mother's face when she finds out her eight year old daughter, who has cerebral palsy, will be able to receive the treatment she needs to learn to walk is priceless, and knowing that I was able to make it happen is the most gratifying feeling in the world.
There's a quote by the Dalai Lama that speaks about the importance of “doing something good, something useful with our lives, [and] contributing to other people's happiness.” When I think about Andie’s Confections, this is what comes to mind. People will ask me about the numbers and I tell them that I've raised around $15,000. They always ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ and praise me. But it's never really been about that. Making a difference in other people's lives, being able to make them smile and laugh or giving them a new opportunity they thought they would never have was all I ever set out to do. It was never about the numbers, the money or the recognition. I was inspired to do good, to make a difference and no matter how small the impact may be, I like to believe that I've been able to make one.