Paying it Forward in Memory of Mathias: Our December Community Outreach Partner

Mathias Giordano

This December marks four years since cancer stole Mathias Giordano from his family and friends. We are honored to remember Mathias through selecting the non-profit created in his name, Team Mathias, as our December Community Outreach Partner. We are donating $1 from every haircut from our Fairfax and Loudoun locations this month to this local, non-profit who is making a difference in the lives of children battling cancer. We will promise to do random acts of kindness in Mathias’ name and would love for you to join in using the hashtags #PayItForward and #MathiasStrong.

The heartbreaking yet beautiful words from Mathias’ mom, Roya, are shared below:

“4 years ago today our world changed forever.

I now realize that the hardest part of losing you, wasn’t to say goodbye but to learn to live without your beautiful smile, your hugs, your sense of humor, your love for life, your care for friends and family, your passion for food and your sophisticated taste for beautiful & contemporary things in life.

The emptiness that your dad, Troy & I feel in our hearts and in our home not just today but EVERYDAY is killing us. There is truly no greater heartache than having to live our lives without you! I was convinced that my heart would stop beating when yours did. 4 years later I’m still wondering how am I still breathing? If the broken heart syndrome is as real as they say it is why hasn’t it made my broken heart stop!

Being your mom has and will always be my biggest accomplishment in life. Your strength, determination and your love for life will always guide me to be a better person & my one and only mission in life is to protect your name and your legacy and to make you proud. I want you to keep smiling down on us in knowing that we are making a small difference each and everyday in the lives of those effected by cancer in your LOVING Memory.

We are blessed to have a lot of loving, caring & supportive friends and family who still remember and honor you daily.

Friends please #PayItForward in Mathias’ memory today. Go out of your way to make someone smile today because of Mathias. Make a donation to your favorite childhood cancer charity, Donate blood or platelets, do something small or big just to remember my sweet, beautiful, handsome boy. My soulmate, my Mathias.”

 

We urge you to please learn more about the facts of childhood cancer. Then we urge you to do something. There are some amazing ideas on the Team Mathias site, on their Take Action page. Register with Be the Match, donate blood, sponsor a Team Mathias Care package, volunteer at an event, share facts on your Facebook page.

 

 

Honoring Mathias Giordano through Team Mathias: Our December Community Outreach Partner

MathiasGravesite

There are a million and one things wrong with this photo. It’s a photo taken by Roya Giordano at the graveside of her son, Mathias. The day Roya posted this photo, it had been 1,085 days without her precious son on this earth. Mathias passed on December 7th, 2014 after a 29-month long battle with Osteosarcoma, a bone cancer diagnosed mostly in boys, mostly whom are under the age of 25. Mathias was just 11 years old when he and his family were given the devastating diagnosis. Mom’s should never, ever have to post a photo like this, or count the number of days it has been since their little one was last kissed or hugged by them.

We wanted to share Mathias’ story with you and have again selected the foundation set up in his name, Team Mathias, as our December Community Outreach Partner as it is our hope that one day, there will be a cure for all childhood cancers. Spreading Mathias’ story is one way we can honor him, remember him, and spread awareness about childhood cancer.

Mathias had an amazing smile. Our bet is lots of 11 year old girls were smitten with him! He was funny and giving of himself, always looking for ways to serve others while he himself was battling an awful disease. Mathias, Roya, and Jay Coakley, founder of Ellie’s Hats, worked together toward the end of Mathias’ battle to create a Childhood Cancer specialty plate in Virginia, after learning one did not yet exist. (We urge you to order a CC plate through the DMV.) We posted last year about the tremendous LOVE for Mathias that is so apparent when looking through photos on the Team Mathias Facebook page. Since that post, more beautiful photos have been published of people coming together in Mathias’ memory to do good for others. Sorrowfully, another photo posted was the one above, whose realization smacks you in the face that childhood cancer is not rare, is desperately underfunded, and sadly not spoken of enough in our society. It’s a harsh reality, but one that will not be changed by looking the other way or avoiding the topic.

We urge you to please learn more about the facts of childhood cancer. Then we urge you to do something. There are some amazing ideas on the Team Mathias site, on their Take Action page. Register with Be the Match, donate blood, sponsor a Team Mathias Care package, volunteer at an event, share facts on your Facebook page.

This December, Salon Khouri will be sharing Mathias’ story with our community. We are also donating $1 from every haircut from our Fairfax and Loudoun locations to Team Mathias.

 

Epic inspiration from a boy named Mathias

by Jennifer Elkhouri

mathiasIf 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.

childhood_cancer_plate32You 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 mathiasribbongathering 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!

Ellie’s Hats: Inspired by a spunky red-head … what’s not to love about that?

Ellie’s Hats is a Northern Virginia Non-Profit who seeks to bring joy and help to local families whose children are battling cancer. Ellie’s Hats was inspired by a sweet NoVa girl, Ellie Whitfield, who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in the Spring of 2013. After losing her hair from chemotherapy, Ellie began to wear different fun hats to school to help express her personality. Her P.E. teacher, Jay Coakley, noticed her affinity for “fun and cheery hats” and organized a hat drive to provide Ellie with a broader selection of hats to wear – and thus was born Ellie’s Hats! Thousands of children across the country now receive new hats through Ellie’s Hats.

In addition to providing joy to kids battling cancer by providing unique, fun hats, Ellie’s Hats collects gift cards and other items to give to local families whose children are battling cancer. Also, in 2014, Ellie’s Hats worked closely with Team Mathias to introduce a Cure Childhood Cancer License Plate in honor of Mathias Giordano to help spread awareness about childhood cancers. Mathias, diagnosed in 2012 with Osteosarcoma, inspired thousands through his determined cheer, his powerful courage and his extreme kindness. Mathias passed after a 28 month battle in December 2014.

Ellie's Hats

This February, Salon Khouri will be donating $1 from every haircut from both our locations to Ellie’s Hats. Please take a moment to learn more about this wonderful organization. Please visit their website to see how you can help by knitting a hat or donating to this local, Northern Virginia non-profit.