CRANFORD, NJ – Four years ago, Cranford’s Audrey McMahon received a chocolate melter and chocolate molds as a Christmas gift. Unbeknownst to all involved, that gift would soon help many other children and their families.
McMahon, 13, decided to put her chocolate equipment to good use by making and selling chocolate lollipops. Her first year, she donated the proceeds to St. Jude’s Children Hospital.
She then decided to localize, opting to raise money for Liam’s Room, a Westfield-based organization that provides comfortable palliative care to children and their families.
Liam’s Room was founded in 2007, after a young boy, Liam, was diagnosed with lissencephaly (Miller-Dieker syndrome), an incurable neurological condition. Liam lived for 16 months after birth. He is survived by his parents and his twin brother, Nathaniel.
“When I first learned about it [Liam’s Room], I felt connected because Liam is also a twin,” McMahon said. “Liam and Nathaniel are just about one year younger than me and my twin brother, Benji. Being a twin, I understand how difficult it must have been. I can’t imagine my brother not being with me anymore.”
McMahon and her mothers, Suzanne and Mara McMahon, make the lollipops at home. They sell those lollipops at local businesses, in school and online. All proceeds are donated to Liam’s Room.
“We are so grateful for the time, effort and love that Audrey puts into this project every year,” Lisa McNamara, co-chair and co-founder of Liam’s Room, said. “We are in awe of her selflessness and dedication to thinking of others and are so honored that she chooses to donate the proceeds to Liam’s Room.”
In the past three years, McMahon collectively raised more than $1,900 in lollipop sales. This year, her goal is to raise $1,500.
“In the past we’ve had teachers who bought them for their whole class and a small business owner who got one for each employee and did two nice things with one donation,” she said. “Of course, non-pop donations are also accepted.”
When she’s not in school or making lollipops, McMahon likes to play field hockey, basketball and softball. She loves to read, make friendship bracelets and watch “Stranger Things.”
“We love that Audrey is dedicated to helping others through her chocolate pop sales,” Suzanne and Mara McMahon said in a joint email. “She’s a busy 13-year old with school, activities, and friends and we’re proud that she’s committed to finding time for this.”
In addition to her lollipop project, McMahon’s ambition and giving nature are evident in her goals for the future.
“I want to be a lot of things when I grow up, a couple of them being a doctor or vet, because I love animals and I would love to help people,” she said. “I would also want to be an artist or fashion designer because I love creating things and drawing.”
McMahon’s lollipops, available in milk chocolate, dark chocolate or dark chocolate with sea salt, can be purchased for $4 each at Augusta Mae in Cranford or Guillotine Salon and Spa in Westfield. They can also be ordered online for donations of $20 or more via email.
For more information on Liam’s Room, click here.