It's not often you meet someone who displays such quiet grace and inner fortitude in the face of immense personal hardship. Diagnosed with cancer when he was only nine years old, Andrew Mizzoni overcame the illness twice. He so bravely accepted his treatments, surgeries, and the loss of his left eye with a wisdom and maturity beyond his years.
Andrew's story has not gone unnoticed. The Have a Heart for SickKids radio-thon featured Andrew's story on three of Toronto's top radio stations, which set a North American record for funds raised.
He was named the Ontario Junior Citizen of the Year, 2015 Next Generation Award recipient by the Canadian Italian Business and Professional Association, and has been recognized as one of the five top individuals in Canada who are making a difference in the lives of Canadian children by Today's Parent Magazine. To date, Andrew's fund, The Andrew Mizzoni Cancer Research Fund, has raised over $500,000 to support paediatric cancer research at The Hospital for Sick Children.
Andrew now dedicates his efforts to his real estate business. As a decorated Real Estate Broker and Investor, Andrew helps hundreds of clients satisfy their property dreams along with his team, the KGM Real Estate Team. When he is not working, Andrew enjoys spending time with his wife, reading, writing, fitness and playing sports, coaching high school basketball, serving in the community, watching the Toronto Raptors, travelling, movies, and spending time with family and friends.
Alex: What is your life’s purpose?
Andrew: My life’s purpose is to make a difference! To leave this place better than how I found it. I was a blessed with a very unique life and have overcome many hardships growing up for a reason. It’s all apart of a master plan.
Alex: What are the three things you’re most passionate about?
Andrew: My faith, my family, fitness and my vocation…Oops that’s 4 things.
Alex: How do you stay healthy? What’s your main health-related goal?
Andrew: A lot of people have a choice whether they want to workout, eat well and live healthy lifestyles. I don’t! Undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments as a child has put me at a greater risk of having health issues as an adult. Every few years I have a brain MRI, and testing for my heart, hearing and thyroid before visiting my Oncologist at Princess Margaret Hospital for a follow up. For the last 10 years, I have been exercising 5 times a week, playing sports such as basketball and golf, enjoy leisure walks and eat organic and natural foods. I find that the key to receiving fitness results is having a specific goal of what you desire to achieve. I aim to have a healthy body inside and out, mind and spirit. It’s not always easy to get up and workout when hitting the snooze button sounds like a better option, but you have to push yourself. I am blessed to come from a family with generations of athletes. My father involved me and my two brothers in various sports and exercises as a child. I played competitive hockey and basketball along with golf, baseball and track and field. In grade 8 I was named “Male Athlete of The Year” like my father before me. I played basketball one week after losing my eye to cancer and played hockey as a goalie one month afterwards. Never Give Up!
Alex: How do you build wealth? What’s your main financial goal?
Andrew: I have always been intrigued with business, and when I was 12 years old I operated a car wash business in my neighbourhood. Today, I have a great career as a real estate broker, one of the top in my field. As one of the youngest people to receive their real estate licence I do work hard, sacrifice and do whatever it takes to succeed. Last year I received the diamond sales award for my sales volume, which correlates to satisfying many clients in the process.
One of my most recent transactions was one of the highest priced condo sales in Toronto's real estate history. Along with my team, KGM Real Estate team, I work with builders/developers and offer my clients first access to new developments. We have sold as many as 20 homes/condos in a weekend. But that is income, and income alone doesn’t make you rich.
I purchased my first real estate investment property when I was 19 with only $5,000 to my name. I didn’t know how I would make the rest of the payments, but I did. Today I am sole owner or partner in almost a dozen residential properties. How did I do it? I “bloomed where I was planted,” invested in what I knew, and learned from great mentors who have done it before me.
If you have ever seen the movie Forrest Gump, there is a part where Tom Hank’s character Forrest receives a letter from a fruit company that Forrest’s friend Lieutenant Dan invested in. The company was, in fact, Apple Computers and Forrest later got a call from them saying that “he doesn’t have to worry about money no more." Forrest responded, “That’s good, one less thing to worry about." That’s my financial goal, independence. Being able to give abundantly, travel, and invest freely.
Lately, I have been focusing on exciting opportunities involving commercial real estate and apartment buildings.
After beating cancer as a child, I have since felt that there is nothing that I cannot achieve, no dream too big!
Alex: How do you balance work and family life?
Andrew: For me, finding balance is key and always challenging. Working in the real estate industry my phone can ring at any time of the day, and I really mean it. In today’s world, you're constantly reachable through technology so I try to set certain times evenings or weekends to check my messages so I’m not distracted during family activities or date nights with my wife. I also take the time to clear my mind when stress builds up through personal yoga sessions, nature walking or playing basketball.
I set weekly goals in 5 fields: Health & Fitness, Spirituality, Vocation, Relationships, and Professional/
Personal Development. This allows me to stay balanced.
Life at times will cause you to get unbalanced, which is natural but only for a season. It’s very important to get back to living a balanced life over the long haul.
Alex: How do you enjoy spending time with family and friends?
Andrew: I love spending time with family and friends, holiday’s and most recently hosting my loved ones. My family and friends are always close by. Firstly, my wife and I have date nights and enjoy planning weekend getaways and vacations. We typically see our families through the week, during planned dinners and get-togethers. A lot of our friends I see weekly at church services. On Saturdays, I organize breakfast with two of my best friends. And I catch a Toronto Raptors basketball game once a month with one of my mentors. So thankfully there's always someone there to turn to, learn from, and share experiences with.
Alex: What has been the most fulfilling role you’ve ever had, or the most fulfilling project you’ve been involved with so far?
Andrew: The most fulfilling times in my life are when I've worked in a team and achieved something great after overcoming hardships. Whether it be selling a multi-million-dollar property, missions trips overseas, or raising money for charity. I often think that I am difficult to work with or for, as I am very demanding, expect positivity, and have big dreams. Treating my co-workers with love and understanding of where they're coming from is something I try to improve on daily.
Alex: What’s one career planning lesson that has made a significant difference in your life?
Andrew: Some of my favourite lessons can be summarized in these quotes:
“Success in real estate is all about building relationships”
“Bloom where you are planted”
“Always be able to close”
“They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” (Theodore Roosevelt)
Alex: What would you like your legacy to be?
Andrew: At the end of my days I would like to be known for the inspiration I left those after me, including the love I shared and my faith in God.
Alex: Andrew, thank you for taking part in this interview! Your openness and insights are much appreciated!
Did you find one or more of Andrew's insights helpful? Are there any ideas or resources that came to mind as you read the interview? Know someone we should interview?
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