Jingle of Jewelry

Richmond Hill’s Cox family gives back to Riley Hospital for Children through upcoming fundraiser

Andrea and Haley Cox show the spring collection from Premier Designs Jewelry.

She didn’t want to go to a jewelry party, but the Richmond Hill baseball mom decided to attend. After talking with a sales leader, Andrea Cox wound up agreeing to host her own party in the first week of November 2012. 

After her debut as hostess, she turned in her orders to Premier Designs Jewelry. They were supposed to be delivered to her house.

The next weekend, a neighbor and her accomplices blew up their house. The Cox home was one of many dwellings in the Richmond Hill subdivision that had to be demolished because they no longer met safety standards.

The arson conspirators are serving time for their fraud scheme, which resulted in the deaths of two people who lived next door to the blast.

Yet the jingle of jewelry has rung happy little bells for Cox, who continues to sell jewelry, and who will be among the vendors at a fundraiser for Riley Hospital for Children at Southport High School on March 4.

Spring collection from Premier Designs Jewelry.

Cox organized the event with the help of a school social worker, Jorie DePalma. Booths will be in the atrium and the cafeteria from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Shoppers should enter through the school’s main entrance at 971 E. Banta Rd. in Southport. 

The Southport student group supporting the sale is known as Riley Dance Marathon (RDM), scheduled to hold a dance in April. The sale will raise about $2,000, and all proceeds from vendor fees will benefit RDM. The sale of concessions and raffle tickets plus financial donations from vendors will boost the tally, Cox said.

Cox proposed the idea for the event while discussing ways to help RDM, which her daughter, Haley, a Southport student, had joined. Cox said her daughter is a “very old soul” who goes out of her way to assist others. When Haley joined RDM, she posted her reasons on donate.rileykids.org, and Cox said she was in tears when she read Haley’s posting.

In the message, Haley said her brother had a severe rash and lung problems right after birth and was hospitalized at Riley for four days. She also alluded to her own struggles with an illness that occurred a few years after she was born. She said that to this day, both she and her brother have a Riley doctor. 

The boutique March 4 will feature a combination of at least 30 artisans and direct sellers. Representatives of Mary Kay and Avon will be there, along with vendors from Tupperware and Pampered Chef. Custom creations by Origami Owl and Olivia’s Blanket Chest will be among items for sale.

Students will sell refreshments and raffle tickets for prizes. The prices range from $1 for one ticket to $10 for 15 tickets.

“Most of the funds we raise go for research to help cure the diseases younger children come down with, and to support their families because these situations are often unexpected,” Haley said. “Everyone can use a little help.”

Selling jewelry is a sideline for Cox, but it perked her up in the aftermath of the explosion. She described herself as having been “horribly, horribly depressed.”

Cox attended Franklin Central High School and Ivy Tech. She is a certified surgical technologist at Franciscan Health. Her husband, Ryan, is a firefighter with White River Township Fire Department, and the city of Greenwood.

At the time of the explosion, family members were asleep on the second floor of their home. Chris, who was then age 13, had a loft bed in the southwest corner of the house, where the damage was worse. She said he was uninjured when drywall and insulation fell on him as the blast pushed the house in a diagonal direction. The house then reverted to its original position, but with an unstable support beam.

The family made it outside, but they were unable to coax the dog, Shadow, into staying with them. Cox said Shadow went into shock and ran down to Stop 11 Road, where she was hit by a vehicle and died.

Code enforcement inspectors had told the Coxes’ insurance company that repairs would have to be completed within seven days, or the house would be demolished. The insurer said it couldn’t meet the timeline, so the family received money for a new house. They rebuilt on the same spot.  Thinking for “a minute” that they should rebuild elsewhere, Cox said they resolved no one was going to ruin the plans they’d made when they chose Richmond Hill, or to break up their children’s friendships and school associations.

Since that November, Haley is different in one big way, Cox noted, saying that before the explosion, Haley wanted to be a teacher. Since the explosion, she has decided to be a police detective.

And Chris, whom Cox credits with the ability to see “the big picture,” wants to channel his interest in baseball into a career as a physician specializing in sports medicine. He will enter the University of Indianapolis this fall as a freshman.

Cox said her moods have improved through her friendship with a senior leader at Premier Designs Jewelry, Meghan Vondielingen. When Vondielingen brought the fulfilled orders from the first party to Cox’ temporary quarters, she said Premier’s prayer service unit was praying for the Coxes and their neighbors. Cox said she was taken aback “in a good way.”