by Jennifer Elkhouri
If you want to see love, and I mean real love, just take a few minutes to scroll through photos on the Team Mathias Facebook page. I will warn you — there is such beautiful love displayed in these photos that you will be overwhelmed.
Mathias exuded love. Through his smile. Through his heart for others. Even while he himself was battling osteosarcoma, he was always thinking of how to help others and to put others before him. Selfless love.
You will see photos of Mathias’ brother, Troy, and Mathias’ mom and dad, Roya and Chris. And in those photos, you will see the tremendous love they have for each other and Mathias.
In other photos, you will see teams of people jumping into ice cold water for Mathias; hundreds gathering in a field to create a gigantic human yellow-gold ribbon for Mathias, and you will see many photos of breathtaking sunsets shot days after Mathias passed when the evening sky displayed colors that only seem possible in dreams. You will indeed see beautiful displays of love from Mathias, from his family, and from the community that surrounded him during his battle with cancer.
You will also see lots of photos scattered throughout of Cure Childhood Cancer license plates — a plate that didn’t exist in Virginia prior to 2015. Mathias wanted so badly to spread awareness about Childhood Cancer and his passion inspired the ‘Mathias Bill’, or HB1319, which created a Cure Childhood Cancer specialty license plate available in Virginia. (Other states are following and creating specialty Childhood Cancer Plates! #Epic!) Roya worked with Jay Coakley of Ellie’s Hats, and Del. Tag Greason (R-32nd), to create the bill in honor of Mathias after Roya learned there was no specialty plate in Virginia for childhood cancer. Upon telling Mathias that there was no specialty plate to spread awareness about the disease he and many other children were battling, Mathias replied, “That can’t be right. Everyone knows what the pink ribbon stands for. We have to get the gold out there, Mom.” Our cars proudly display CC plates and we would love to honor Mathias by asking you to apply for a specialty Cure Childhood Cancer plate for your cars through the DMV. Let’s make the yellow gold ribbon as ubiquitous as the pink ribbon in honor of Mathias and other precious children who have lost their battle to cancer.
Mathias passed on December 7, 2014. I had never met him, but had been following his story on Facebook as our family prayed for him daily. We did little things from afar to support Mathias. I asked our kids if they would like to be a part of the giant gold ribbon gathering in to support Mathias — it was something we felt we could do to show our support and love for him. There was just something about Mathias that grabbed my heart. A lot of these kids do, but Mathias really drew me in. He was the kind of boy I wanted our son to grow to be – kind, loving, trusting in God, and with an excellent sense of humor to boot! Our family was devastated when he passed. I attended Mathias’ funeral and sat next to a group of young girls about Mathias’ age. I wept with them and shared my tissues. My heart was broken to pieces for Mathias’ family — for such a heavy and hard loss. It’s almost been two years and I still think of Mathias almost daily. I smile with joy when I see photos of Mathias. Our littlest yells out, “Mathias!” anytime she spots a Team Mathias bumper sticker, shirt or a CC license plate. I wave at drivers who have CC plates and smile, thinking of what an inspiration Mathias continues to be to so many.
This December, Salon Khouri is donating $1 from every haircut from both our Fairfax and Dulles Landing locations to Team Mathias. Additionally, we are collecting gift cards to donate to Team Mathias for Team Mathias Care Packages. Mathias wanted to create care packages for families of children battling cancer. He especially wanted siblings included! Gift cards from Bed Bath and Beyond, Target, Itunes, and Amazon are perfect for these Care Packages. And, for each gift card you bring to Salon Khouri for donation to a Team Mathias Care Package, we will enter you into a drawing to win a $50 Salon Khouri Gift Certificate as our way of saying thank you. Also, if you have a Cure Childhood Cancer plate, post a photo to our Facebook page to be entered into a drawing to win a customized Kevin Murphy Treat.Me hair treatment and blow dry!