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Andie P.

Unbreakable Andie.

Before her diagnosis, Andie’s life was filled with choir practice, dance classes, and the constant flurry of school activities.

Her days were much like any other teenager's, bursting with laughter and carefree fun. She could dress, bathe, and go about her daily activities without a second thought.

Then came high school, and with it, the shadow of a mystery illness that began to shape her life into something unrecognizable.

The first sign was her back, hunched progressively more each day, a result of kyphosis and the weakening effects of a yet undiagnosed congenital myopathy. Local doctors in Oregon were baffled, unable to piece together the puzzle of her deteriorating health.

A glimmer of hope appeared when her aunt, a neurologist in St. Louis, Missouri, stepped in. Through her aunt's connections, Andie and her mother met a pediatric neurologist who embarked on an exhaustive series of tests: EMGs, muscle biopsies, and ultrasounds.

The results were clear but devastating—abnormalities in muscle fibers confirmed congenital myopathy, a condition progressing similarly to congenital muscular dystrophy. This diagnosis explained the relentless weakening of her muscles, the reason behind her worsening spine.

The next chapter of Andie’s life was written in an operating room where an orthopedic surgeon performed a grueling nine-hour spinal fusion, from T1 to S1. The surgery was a success, but recovery was arduous.

Andie and her mother made countless trips between Oregon and Missouri for follow-ups, each journey a test of endurance. When she finally returned to school, it was under the heavy burden of physical limitation. Walking between classes, even with the aid of a walker, became an ordeal.


As her muscles weakened further, Andie transitioned to a power chair, her independence increasingly tethered to wheels and motors.

Yet, Andie's spirit remained unbroken.

Despite chronic pain and escalating weakness, she continued to find joy in singing, a remnant of her pre-diagnosis life that still brought her peace. But in 2016, her condition took another cruel turn. Her neck muscles failed and were unable to support her head. A cervical fusion was attempted, but it too failed, leaving her dependent on a neck brace, her body too frail for another corrective surgery.

In 2018, another silent enemy crept in. An infection started in her spinal hardware, rapidly spreading and resulting in over fifteen abscesses. Hospitalizations, surgeries, and constant pain became her new normal.

The infection burrowed deep into her hardware, resistant to antibiotics and causing her excruciating agony. She was left with open, deep wounds, some so severe that exposed hardware could be seen. A retained wound sponge, discovered in 2022 during yet another surgery, had been left in her back for two years, threatening her life with every passing day.

Through all this, Andie never lost sight of what brought her joy: giving to others. Her spirit of generosity shone brightly through the darkest times. Inspired by a pair of socks she received during a hospital stay, Andie began organizing sock drives, an endeavor that started modestly but grew to monumental proportions.

Each year, she reached out to schools, social media followers, and anyone willing to help, collecting thousands of colorful, cheerful socks to donate to children’s hospitals, Ronald McDonald Houses, and family shelters. Her message was simple but profound: "I hope these socks bring a smile and warm your feet. Thinking of you, sending love."

Her efforts have extended beyond sock drives. Andie has also organized toy drives, blanket drives, and created "smiles from Andie" boxes filled with coloring books, toys, and other goodies for children in hospitals and shelters. Her commitment to giving, even from her hospital bed, is a powerful reminder of the impact one person can have. (Sounds like a community of people Chive Charities knows very well. RAKs, anyone?)

Despite her physical limitations, Andie orchestrated these drives from her hospital bed. Her efforts garnered attention and admiration, leading to interviews and news stories that celebrated her resilience and compassion. Even in the face of her relentless pain and declining health, Andie found purpose and solace in giving. Her annual sock drive became a testament to her unbreakable spirit.


Life, however, continued to test her resolve. A severe snowstorm wreaked havoc through her home state of Oregon, causing significant damage to her parents' home. The damage was extensive, and insurance estimates fell far short of the actual repair costs. Andie's parents, both elderly and dealing with their own health issues, struggled to manage the repairs and the daily challenges that followed.

Amidst this chaos, their only car broke down, further isolating Andie and complicating her already challenging medical care. The group home where she resided lacked the facilities to meet her complex health needs, and the loss of reliable transportation meant missed appointments and inadequate care. Andie, ever resourceful, reached out for help but often found herself at the mercy of unreliable medical transport services.

In the face of these overwhelming odds, Andie's resilience never wavered. She continued to find joy in small victories, like applying for and receiving a grant item from Chive Charities.

With the support of our donors, we purchased an adjustable bed for Andie, which allowed her a degree of independence she hadn't experienced in years.

The bed, with its ability to transform into a semi-chair position, gave her the freedom to transfer herself in and out without assistance, a monumental step toward reclaiming some of her autonomy. The total impact was $10,076.


“I’m so thankful for this bed you guys were able to give me,” Andie told us. “For so long, I've needed an adjustable bed but did not want one that looked like I was in the hospital. This bed is just that – it doesn't look like a hospital bed but has all the features and more. 

“The fact that it goes into a semi-chair position means I can transfer out of bed for the first time since I was 16 years old. It was so emotional, in the best way possible, when I could position the bed into the chair position and get out on my own.”


In her own words, Andie embodies a simple yet profound truth: "Even if my conditions progress and take away all my physical abilities, the one thing they will never take from me is my heart and passion for giving to others." Through her tireless efforts and unwavering spirit, Andie has shown that true strength lies not in physical abilities but in the enduring power of love and generosity.

Unbreakable Andie, indeed.

At Chive Charities, we’re all about supporting the underdog and stepping in for those who need a little help, like Andie. She’s a lot like our community of supporters, always looking for a way to give back and pay it forward. But even the unbreakable could use an extra hand now and again. Let’s give it to them – DONATE HERE.

Andie P.'s Updates

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