My name is Addie, my husband and I are the founders of SweetLegs. In 2017 our son Theo was born with an undiagnosed heart condition known as Hypoplastic left heart syndrome. Our sweet little son left this world when he was just 5 days new.
As soon as we lost Theo we knew that we needed to do something to honor him. We thought long and hard about what that would look like and in the end decided that we would use our company as a platform to share our baby and his story, and to make a difference in the lives of other families with sick children.
Together with our design team and our other children we designed a SweetLegs memorial print called Theo’s Print. This commemorative charity print was designed to feature a very special heart rhythm, the map of the Okanagan night sky on the night he was born, and an exclusive heart shaped ankle insignia.
$5 from every pair sold was placed into Theo’s Legacy memorial fund, and we’d like to share where the funds have been used.
Theo’s Print launched on July 27th 2018, and to our surprise sold out in under 14 hours.
Sharing this part of our intimate life with you all was not easy, it still isn’t easy, but we believe it has truly made a difference. We continue to hear stories about how our baby’s short little life impacted so many lives and it’s absolutely heartbreakingly beautiful.
I think, maybe one day, we will bring this print back for another opportunity to change more lives. But for now, from our family to yours, thank you for helping us. Here is more about the donations we have made so far.
Angela and Kacey
“On July 18th, When the phone call came in and the doctor asked us to come to the office after hours to discuss the result of the tests for our youngest child, I was scared but I thought no way anything crazy could happen to our little girl. Then she told us. “Rhabdomyosarcoma” I didn’t even know what she said, she repeated it a few times and it still didn’t register I was numb. In shock I could barely even cry, all I felt was panic and I knew I had to get out of there to process this. It was my middle child’s birthday. They were expecting us for dinner.
We had to tell them. Mommy and Kacey have to go away for awhile. A year.
As more news came in on the details of this cancer and how much treatment our little girl needed, I could feel our lives falling apart. Then came panic and so many tears, days and days of tears and fear. Fear of the unknown. How would our family get through this? The home we had worked ourselves to the bones for, raised our children in. Would we have to sell it? Our jobs, careers we had fallen in love with, would we have to leave them? Did we have to move? Where would we stay? How would we buy food? Gas? Travel expenses? Pay Bills? How would we pay for the Medical expenses? None of it even mattered, but again how would we get through this?
It was a whirlwind of this intense unknown world of cancer. I feared the worst.
Then on top of everything my mother got sick at the beginning of August. Could this even be real? While she was fighting for her life at VGH, Kacey and I have been at BCCH. I spent my days divided between two hospitals. She eventually passed away on September 13th. She was my best friend my support, my biggest fan. Our family and our hearts have been broken into millions of tiny pieces.
Then something magical happened. The community of Kelowna reached out and helped us more than I thought was even possible. I’ve never in my life experienced so much human kindness and humanity. There have been so many moments filled with love and kindness since the beginning of our journey. Flowers, cards, bins of food, prepared meals from complete strangers! Fundraisers from people we’ve never even met. The presence of old and new friends.
When I was approached to be part of Theo’s legacy, I was honoured. For our family, Theo’s legacy has given us peace. A deep sense of knowing no matter how bad things are or will be, we are going to be ok. Strength to focus on what really matters, our daughter. Most importantly time, for healing, for fighting this beast, and time to pick up the pieces of our broken life and put them back together again.
Theo’s legacy and the Pafiolis Family has shown us that it’s possible to be whole again. They have given us hope.
Thank-you Sweetlegs and all the Sweetlegs fans. Thank-you Chris and Addie.
Thank-you Theo. ❤️”
-A letter From Angela about daughter Kacey. Looking to help the Gulbransen family more? Here is a link to their GoFund me page: https://www.gofundme.com/f/for-the-love-of-kacey
Canuck Children’s Hospice
On September 21st, our son Nikos (born after Theo) and I were able to go back to Canuck place and personally donate money. The build up to this moment was very emotional as we had not been back since we left that rainy day September 30th, 2017 with empty arms, and a care box full of groceries to take home.
I arrived with my mother and sister-in-law and met with the team. We shared how we were able to donate, and talked briefly about our stay at Canuck and what it meant to our family.
Prior to this trip I reached out to a company called Rocky Mountain Soap Co. and shared part of our story. My intent was to purchase from them in bulk 100 of their foaming baby wash to donate to the hospice.
Here is a small blurb from my email to Annie at Rocky Mountain Soap Co.
“…After he passed, we were offered the option to wash our son and remove all the signs of his hospital stay. I welcomed this invitation. The body wash provided to us was a sample size Dove Body wash. It is hard to explain, but this still haunts me to this day, and I suspect always will. I expected to wash my baby for the first time in a delicate wash specifically for a babies skin to blend the sweet smell of newborn skin with a familiar scent like yours.- Addie“
Annie replied back
“Your words about our soap were so kind and your initiative to give back to those at Canuck Place is such a beautiful gesture. We would actually like to gift you the 100 Baby Foaming Washes. We don’t wish to gain any sort of recognition. We truly appreciate your beautiful soul and efforts to give back to those that will experience this same hardship. “ – Annie“
This kind and amazing donation on behalf of Theo broke my heart. I was beaming with pride at what this little soul was doing, and breaking from our loss. We arrived at Canuck Place with 4 large boxes and 100 bottles of soap. There was one tiny box addressed to me with a bottle of my favourite baby soap and a card that their entire staff had signed.
I want to reiterate that this company wanted no recognition for this donation, but please show them some love and appreciation on their facebook page ❤️
Would you like to learn more about Canuck Children’s Hospice or donate? Visit them here: https://www.canuckplace.org/
Recipient of 2019 $2500 scholarship
George Elliot Secondary
Paying it forward, even more, we thought a perfect place to honor our son would be to give scholarships in his name. It was a very emotional experience to sit and read through all the applications for the scholarship and almost impossible to choose just two. Here is what Jasmin, one of our recipients shared with us.
“I am very grateful to have received the Theo’s Legacy Memorial Scholarship. It has been extremely helpful to me as I haven’t had to worry about student loans or working all the time. I can focus on my studies without finances being my main concern and it has also left me overall less stressed while starting university. For me, the support from this scholarship is helping me to reach my goals and fulfill my dreams. I hope to become a filmmaker or a teacher one day and it is important to recognize that any kind of support is bringing me closer to that goal. It is kind and generous people like Theo’s parents who help young people like me as we enter the “real” world and start lives of our own.” – A letter from Jasmin Gil.
The Schochter Family
“Although we never had the opportunity to meet Theo, his legacy has helped us immensely.
We were caught in a life threatening situation that had our family in disbelief. Treatment required us to be living away from our home, family and friends for many months.
With Theo’s support our burden was lessened. It relieved our fears and brought hope to our family, and helped us to believe we could get through it. This allowed us to focus on what was most important, following treatment and getting better. Our family plans to “pay it forward”, what Theo has started. It warmed our hearts and increased our awareness of the needs of others.
Thank you Theo!” – A letter from the Schochter family
Theo’s Christmas Baskets
Just three months after our loss we knew we needed and wanted to do more. Our sweet Theo was born into our family with so much love. He was planned and wanted and we were very blessed to be able to provide for him and our other children.
We decided that in his memory we wanted to bless some local families and lighten their Christmas load. We put a call out on our local pages and asked people to nominate someone they knew that just needed an extra hug during the holiday season.
We had an outpouring of nominations and our hearts broke. Knowing we couldn’t just help one family we decided to do more.
On December 23rd 2017 we dropped off a Christmas Basket to a local widow with two young children. We made sure that there were toys and stocking stuffers for both young children as well as for mom. We included gift certificates for local grocery stores to make sure that they had enough for their Christmas dinner and the weeks to come.
Wanting to help even more we purchased 5 gift certificates to our local grocery store and gifted them to other nominees to make sure everyone’s fridges were full this holiday season.
This year we decided to do something a little different. We purchased $4000 worth of grocery store certificates in $300 increments and put the call out again. We were flooded with nominations and were able to provide gift cards to local families in need, to ensure they had a full fridge for the holiday season.
Andrea and Maddock
“ I hope we all follow your father and mother’s footsteps and wrap up our love in packages and send it out to other children and families who are needing some extra. Thank you sweet Theo. Thank you for sharing so much love with us, with me. Thank you from my own baby. Sometimes money is just money. Sometimes money says you are loved, you are thought of, you are supported, you are not alone. And we all need to know that we are not alone. And you have told us that sweet baby. Please hear us when we say we are with you too. Wherever you might be. You will be carried around safely in so many hearts.“
“Maddock was diagnosed with Testicular Leukemia (ALL) Feb 17, 2019. He just finished frontline treatment which is the most intense part, these past 7+ months. He still has 935 days of maintenance chemo to go but the biggest hurdle (hopefully) is complete. He is so happy and positive and busy making new friends and having fun regardless of what else he has on his plate. He is an inspiration to me and to many. Life is made into lemonade with my Maddock.”
-A letter from Andrea about son Maddock.
We first heard about baby Henry when one of our Independent Distributors asked the team to send her niece lots of extra love. That their son, Henry had been born with a major heart defect. Chris and I chatted late one night and decided that we needed to gift this family from Theo’s Legacy.
They needed out love and support. Since our donation, Henry’s mom, Rustee and I have chatted a few times about our losses and she shared that Henry had a bear in his bed with him and he was named Theo. That they believed Theo was there watching over their babe.
“When our son was born with a heart defect and had to be sent to another province, our lives were turned upside down. We didn’t know anyone in Edmonton. My husband and I both work in a restaurant so we do not have any kind of money. Being in Edmonton away from everything we knew was very hard and in our time of despair we didn’t even think about our financial situation until after the initial shock of what was happening. Receiving the money from a perfect stranger that had been through the same situation as us was unbelievable. Theo’s print money that was given to us was a game changer, we now didn’t have to worry about how long we were away from home. We didn’t have to panic about our mortgage being paid, the daily meals at the hospital, the air ambulance we had to pay for and got the gift of time with our son.
We got to focus on our little guy.
That gift was, for us the greatest thing we could have. We got to spend time worrying about our little Henry instead of worrying about losing our life back home. We will forever be thankful for the Theo’s print donation we received, because it gave us time.
It’s been almost 9 months since having a c section and my scar feels weirdly numb and foreign on my body. When will it feel normal?
Truth is nothing feels normal, or ever will again. We lost our baby boy after only 62 days of life with us.
And not the life we imagined.
He never got to see his home or his freshly finished room that his dad and I worked so hard to get done for him. He never got to meet his dog, that would have constantly begged for food and cleaned the mess under his highchair. He never wore the clothes and cuddled the teddy’s. Never got to sleep on his dads chest while taking a nap together or feed on me and get the milk straight from the source.
We have many moments that we wished for and that we will never get with our sweet little Henry.
He fought his hardest for those 62 days, to be with us. To give us what he could. We got to hold him, read to him, give him sponge baths. We took every chance we could just be there beside him, loving him, letting him hear our voices.
Henry isn’t a name that runs in our family, or has some special value, it’s just one that we both agreed on. People always say when you see the baby you’ll know for sure you picked the right name. I was not a believer of this saying… but he was totally a Henry.
I think of him every day, say goodnight to him before I sleep and know that this pain is forever. I know it will become softer over time and sometimes be sharp and unexpected out of nowhere.
Henry was our little bug.
We miss him so much, we will never stop missing him.
Henry’s imperfect heart was ours.”
– A letter from Rustee about son Henry.
When choosing a charity or foundation to donate money to on behalf of your deceased baby, nothing seems right and nothing seems worthy enough. It is wickedly painful and took us a long time to get here.
We have a spectacular platform to raise and donate money, and I am forever grateful for that. As we walk this slow healing path that we are very full of gratitude to be able to make donations on behalf of our sweet boy. With our broken pieces, we were able to wrap many people up in our love and offer a sliver of strength.
Our hope for Theo’s Legacy is to continue to grow and support families through a medical crisis so that they can focus on their loved ones. We look forward to sharing more with you in the future.
In loving memory of Theo. 09.25.17 – 09.30.17
Addie & Chris