An Oswego County family is working to turn their heartbreak into a way to spread kindness and love within the community.

“Andrew was truly just joy and love. He had kindness, and he always made people laugh,” said Andrew’s mom, Christina Tracy.

When she and Andrew’s dad, Steve, talk about their son, it’s with a combination of pride, love and a deep understanding of the challenges that led to his death.

“Andrew also had severe ADHD, and that was a struggle. He was really impulsive which is a symptom of ADHD,” Tracy said. “I was always saying that my mission as his mom was trying to protect him from himself.” 

His mom said it was that impulsivity that 3 1/2 years ago led to a freak accident that ended his life. Trying to trying get a laugh out of friends over a video chat one night, he took things too far.

Now, through their own organization called Andrews Angels, they are raising awareness about the realities and the dangers of raising a child with ADHD, while providing support for other parents.

“ADHD is real. I was told so many times through his life, ‘he’s just a boy. He’ll grow out of it. He’s fine,’” she said. “What I was trying to do I did not succeed with.“

This year would have been Andrew’s 19th birthday, so the family is completing 19 random acts of kindness in his honor. They’ve also sent out hundreds of cards encouraging others to do the same on what they are calling Andrew’s Angels Day.

“We wanted to celebrate him and we wanted to throw kindness around like confetti, so we thought of the random acts of kindness,“ Tracy said.

Now they hope everyone will contribute by lending a hand to someone in need, or just spreading a little joy within the community this Saturday, all in the name of a young man they say despite his struggles, spent his life doing just that.

“Our motto, "always choose kindness and laughter," came from words in his obituary,” Tracy said. “I know he’s looking down on us and he’s so happy that we’re doing this.“

Tracy said she encourages anyone with a child who has ADHD to ask for help if they need it, something she says she hopes the Andrew’s Angels Facebook page can help to provide.