CHIMACUM, Wash. -- A Chimacum man believes so strongly that every child deserves an opportunity to pursue music that he's staked his life on it.
And it's actually paying off.
Thirteen years ago, Andy had enough. After his ninth heart surgery, he stopped taking his medications.
"My pastor was planning my memorial service," he remembers. "I said, 'God, I'm in your hands.'"
With the little money he had for his medicine, he decided it could be better spent.
"I bought harmonicas and I went for years. Never took not even an aspirin," Andy says.
Now, for Andy, it's all about the music, and teaching music to kids.
"You can do anything if you just do it!" Andy Mackie tells a classroom full of kids.
To them, he's known as the Harmonica Man or the Music Man, teaching them how to play and even how to make their own instruments.
"Once you start building an instrument, you can build anything," Andy says to them.
It's music that truly comes from his heart. But Andy's mission is about much more than the music. It's about paying it forward.
"I'm in physical pain all the time just about, but when I get with these kids I don't even think about what I feel like," he says.
Andy shouldn't even be here today. But what he does is why he is here today. Doctors say he needs open heart surgery, but they also say he wouldn't survive it. So, music is his medicine.
"I think as long as I keep doing what I'm doing I've got some time left," he says. "It's not that I'm not ready to go, I just really really love what I'm doing."
All materials and musical instruments are donated through Andy's foundation. So far he's given out 20,000 harmonicas and 5,500 Mackie Music Sticks to schools in Washington state and around the country.
If you'd like to contribute or learn more about his mission click on this link to visit Andy Mackie's Foundation website.
If you have a story of someone in your community making a difference, tell us about it by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.