WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (APRIL 4, 2017) — Following her father's terrifying, life-threatening medical episode several years ago, a 10-year-old Cecilia Fink conceived a charitable business plan to create and sell earrings to help families going through similar situations.
Since then, the now-13-year-old Williamsport Area Middle School student has raised more than $5,800 from her jewelry sales that have benefitted three local charities — with a fourth on the way.
It all began when Fink's father suffered an aortic dissection, during which the main valve of his heart started to split. Fortunately, he survived the event, but the occurrence set a new course of charity for the teen.
"You can tell people are struggling," she said, "and I know how it feels to go through something like this."
Over the last three years, Fink has raised $1,200 for Nolan's Heart of Steel; $2,015 for Ellie's Heart Foundation
; and $2,595 for a former younger peer, Giovanni Hamilton, who has Schwartz-Jampel syndrome.
This year, Fink hopes to raise more than $2,500 to support the Cancer Survivor Program at the River Valley YMCA.
Fink said this experience has been very rewarding, and she has developed a deeper understanding of the impact that life-threatening experiences can have on anyone and their family.
She plans to continue selling earrings and eventually expand to other pieces of jewelry, such as necklaces. While still in middle school, Fink knows she wants to continue a life of service, whether through a career in counseling or running a foundation.
Fink sells her earrings for $5. Typically, they're available during First Fridays, at community events, jewelry parties and blood drives.