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

The Okanagan Regional Library is holding a pair of online contests for its young readers. (File photo)
Okanagan Regional Library challenges young readers

Pair of contests online aimed at kids aged up to 18

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

Interior Health reported 79 new cases of COVID-19 and two new death in the region Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)
79 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths reported in Interior Health

Both of Friday’s deaths were both recorded at long-term care homes

Veteran Henry Kriwokon has his photo taken by the Western as he celebrates his 99th birthday with friends at the Cellar in Downtown Penticton. (Brennan Phillips - Penticton Western News)
Turning 101, Penticton veteran looks back on life

Henry Kriwokon was one of the soldiers in the famous ‘Wait for me, Daddy’ photo

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

Auldin Maxwell stacks the 693rd block on the top of record-breaking Jenga tower on Nov. 29. (Submitted)
Salmon Arm boy rests world-record attempt on single Jenga brick

Auldin Maxwell, 12, is now officially a Guinness world record holder.

Crystal Johns used her lunch break to film her audition video for the Vancouver Canucks.
VIDEO: Former Vees anthem singer wants to bring her voice to the Canucks

Crystal Johns made her audition tape during a lunch break

Snow covers Main Street in downtown Penticton Monday morning, Jan. 25, 2021.
First snowfall of 2021

Chances of light snow all week

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News file)
Two Kelowna flights flagged for COVID-19 onboard

The flights were on Jan. 14 and 18

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

A Dodge Ram pickup similar to this one was involved in a hit-and-run in Lake Country on Saturday, Jan. 16. (Crime Stoppers photo)
Stolen truck involved in Okanagan hit-and-run

Incident happened on Highway 97 in Lake Country just before 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Kelowna Fire Department. (FILE)
Early morning downtown Kelowna dumpster fire deemed suspicious

RCMP and the Kelowna Fire Department will conduct investigations into the cause of the blaze

Most Read