A Message from Our Angel: "10 Years Later & Just Getting Started"
A couple weeks ago, my son Alexander and I had the pleasure to have a dinner during our Holy Week with the Pauly’s parents after church one evening. As we sat and spoke, we reminisced about the years that have flown by and what’s happened in the “brother’s lives” since Pauly passed. Theo Gioles; today, has graduated college with a Bachelors Degree in Business Management and is currently working as a fitness trainer for athletes. Nicholas Exarchou; is about to start his college career and is going to major in Graphics & Game Development. And Alexander Exarchou is completing his Bachelors degree having majored in Communications & Media Management and is preparing himself for his MBA selection in the near future. Pauly’s brothers; Theo, Nicky and Alex, have grown up! Four rug rats so many years ago, have remained close through the years, and have one common denominator that always remains the same; “Pauly”! Forever bonded, forever united and FOREVER ONE! Four individuals came together as a team, but when all had been written, they were and still are; FOUR BROTHERS FOREVER!
During this emotional and enlightening dinner with the Pavlou’s I took a chance and asked Andreas & Georgia if they wouldn’t mind sharing some sentiments or stories that they’d kept to themselves, not expecting a whole lot because I may have been intruding, but quite contrary they were very forthcoming and willing to share their message, and while contemplating my topic to write about herein this letter, it dawned upon me that their message was not “theirs” alone! But rather, once again, it was “Pauly” talking to us all, as he has done so many times during these past ten years!!
As Georgia said to me: “10 years without Pauly, but 10 years of 200 or more children….His strength carries me forward each and every day…I have learned the meaning of less is more and that he is with me all the time, always present within me…I am never alone!” And she continued: “…the effort behind all of this, the foundation, the lives we touch, the caring and loving, it will continue always….it feels good and right!” And finally: “…all of our foundation family, those who have volunteered, those that have donated and/or given of themselves, the beautiful children and their families that have touched our lives…God Bless you all! Our Chairman and Chairlady...forever and always you have our gratitude our appreciation and our love! And, to the “Brothers”; you are and always will be forever our “sons” and forever in our hearts…”forever family!”
As you might imagine how touching a moment this had been, I turned to Andreas who added the following: “I never in my life thought that it was better to give, than to receive….but now I BELIEVE it! I now understand that meaning of “giving to receive”….and I have to thank Pauly for that! My son! It just FEELS GOOD and it Changes Your Life Forever!”
At that moment I froze! I mean, here we were, Alexander and I, sitting with the two most wonderful people on the planet, who lost their precious child, and they were telling us how much “they were grateful” to be able to share his love with the world! I was floored and just did not know what to say!? I then realized, this was not just Andreas & Georgia speaking and sharing….this was Our Angel, guiding us once again, using his parents as his vehicle, to get this message to us all! He was telling us all now, as he said to us before he left; “there is much to be done, there are children that need us, we cannot and shall not stop helping!” And, he was also speaking to me again as well, forcing me to remember to keep the promise I made to him before he closed his eyes, which was; “that as long as I could bowl, walk, talk and breathe, I would continue to help families affected by this dreaded disease, each and every year!”
This was the message conveyed that evening. This is the message that I repeat to you all here now. And this is the promise that will be kept going forward every year in Pauly’s memory! The Pins For Pauly Foundation will: “Continue the fight against children’s leukemia”! We are here for you!! We are strong, and we are here to stay! It is indeed 10 years later…but we are just getting started!!! And there is much work to be done!
So pardon me if I sound inappropriate at the moment, but this is my time now. And at this time I will be my inappropriate self and make the following statements:
Don’t buy that extra pack of cigarettes. You do not need them anyway and they’re no good for you! You don’t have to spend on unnecessary computer games, just to be cool. You don’t have to have that extra Big Mac, that very expensive pair of sneakers or the outfit you can’t afford to buy, yet will charge it and pay it off for months to come! No! You do not “need” any of the above! But….there are things that you NEED and SHOULD do! Take those dollars and GIVE to the children that really NEED YOUR HELP!! Let them know you care! Sacrifice what you have, for those that need you now! When a family says “thank you for being there for us….we thought we were alone”, there is no greater good you can do than to do it again and again and again! I may be inappropriate in my statement, but when it comes to these children and their families…I do not care!
So I ask you all to look deep within your heart and help us to help the children that really need your help! Don’t be shy; ask all your friends and family to support you in this endeavor! Do not take no for an answer. It is a most noble and worthy cause! It just feels good and right!
And as I have said in the past; “to those of you that have been part of our family since the beginning; I thank you. To those of you just joining our family now; WELCOME and be prepared to share the love and the wonderful feeling of “giving”, as Andreas mentioned above!
As I look back at those four boys that started it all, those four boys that came together as individuals, learned to be teammates and are bonded forever as BROTHERS, I thank them all; Theo, Nicky, Alexander and PAULY! For in you four, WE are all united as one family!
On behalf of myself and my Co-Chairlady Martha Xenophon, we thank the Pavlou family for allowing us the honor to be a part of their family and we thank all the foundation members for their love and support. Pins For Pauly Foundation; (Continuing the fight against children’s leukemia)….10 years later…and just getting started!
With Love & Affection to You All,
Alexander J Exarchou; National Chairman P4P