Addie Pafiolis with her son, Theo, who died just five days after his birth due to a heart condition in 2017. For the past four years, Addie and her husband Chris have been supporting local families around the holiday season in Theo’s memory. (Contributed)

Addie Pafiolis with her son, Theo, who died just five days after his birth due to a heart condition in 2017. For the past four years, Addie and her husband Chris have been supporting local families around the holiday season in Theo’s memory. (Contributed)

Okanagan couple supporting local families in son’s memory this Christmas

Theo Pafiolis was five days old when he passed away due to a heart condition; now, his parents are supporting others in his name

A Lake Country couple is carrying on their son’s memory by making Christmas 2020 a memorable one for a local family.

For the past four years, Addie and Chris Pafiolis have been sponsoring families with money out of pocket for presents and food during the holidays.

It’s how they’ve chosen to turn a heartbreaking loss into something heartwarming and positive.

In 2017, their son Theo was born with a birth defect known as Hypoplastic left heart syndrome. The heart condition went undiagnosed until 36 hours after his birth. Sadly, just days after welcoming Theo into the world, the couple had to say goodbye.

“We had five very short days with him until he left this universe for another, and something that we chose to do in his memory right away, starting in 2017, was support some families at Christmas through hard times,” Addie said.

That first year, Chris and Addie fielded private messages on Facebook to find a local family in need of support.

“That was really special,” Addie said. “We were able to really shower them with some presents and some food for Christmas.”

READ MORE: Donations needed for less fortunate Vernon kids to give gifts

In 2018, they decided to spread the support out across multiple families. Through their company — SweetLegs Clothing Inc. — they purchased $6,000 worth of Save-on Foods gift certificates and passed them out among the community.

They purchased gift certificates again in 2019, and also found two local families to support.

This year the couple has been busier than ever running an e-commerce business in the middle of the pandemic. But seeing the extra need among local families, they made the extra effort to continue Theo’s Christmas tradition.

“Already I can feel that there’s a lot of people within our community that could really benefit from an extra hand,” Addie said. “It wasn’t long ago when we were a family that could have used a little extra love, so I think it’s really important to just pass it forward, especially during a time when everyone is struggling — mentally, emotionally, you name it,” Addie said.

Addie and Chris have already raised and donated thousands in Theo’s name for causes ranging from the Canucks Children’s Hospice to a scholarship at George Elliot Secondary in Lake Country. But Addie says there’s something extra special about supporting people in her home community.

“To me, it’s kind of like a virtual hug,” she said. “Plus, it keeps our son’s memory alive, so it’s important to us.”

READ MORE: West Kelowna business helping community through trying times


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter

Christmas

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Downtown Revelstoke. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
COVID-19 holds steady in Revelstoke at 16 new cases

The numbers are from Jan. 10 to 16

The Stoked Cubs U11 girls hockey team is the first girls team in Revelstoke in a long time. (Submitted)
Revelstoke’s girls hockey team skating towards $100,000 competition

The U11 team pitched support for the food bank in a submission to the Good Deed’s Cup

Calls for potential overdoses in B.C. spiked in 2020, especially in the Okanagan - Shuswap. Pictured above is a BCEHS re-enactment of paramedics attending an overdose. (BCHES)
Overdose calls spike in 2020 across the Okanagan – Shuswap

Stats show every major community in Okanagan - Shuswap increased in calls for potential overdoses

The BC SPCA is adapting its fundraising after cancelling events due to COVID-19 restrictions. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
BC SPCA gets creative with fundraising as pandemic continues

The non-profit’s in-person fundraising events all had to be cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

Interior Health has declared the Cariboo Chilcotin a community cluster. (Angie Mindus photo)
Interior Health declares Cariboo Chilcotin region a COVID-19 cluster, 215 cases since Jan. 1

Most cases are related to transmission at social events and gatherings in Williams Lake

Vernon Fire Rescue Services responded to a single-vehicle rollover Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, after a vehicle came into contact with a pedestrian light pole at Kalamalka Lake Road and 14th Avenue. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Minor injuries in rollover after vehicle hits Vernon crosswalk pole

The vehicle flipped onto its side, closing Kalamalka Lake Road

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Penticton city council heard from Dhorea Ramanula, of Paid Employment for People with Lived Experiences Tuesday, Jan. 19. Ramanula’s organization has operated public washrooms in Kelowna staffed by community support workers since April, she says Penticton could benefit from a similar facility. (Michael Rodriguez - Kelowna Capital News)
Penticton interested in new public washroom concept to combat vandalism

Public washrooms with on-site support staff have been operating in Kelowna since April

Canada Post had remove a lot of letter boxes around Penticton after they were vandalized. This letter box at the United Church on Main St. remains unscathed. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Street mailbox vandals strike Penticton drop boxes

Canada Post had to remove a bunch of the vandalized units

Esa Carriere, 23, was the victim of a 2018 Canada Day homicide. (File)
Youth sentenced in Kelowna Canada Day killing

Young woman pleaded guilty to lesser assault charge, sentenced to 15-month intensive support and supervision program

Most Read