PORTLAND (WGME) – The holiday season is here and for one Maine family it is bittersweet. But they are turning their grief into helping others.
By giving to the “Joy of Sharing” organization.
We first met Joel and Sarah Wezowicz last year when they dropped off toys at our Joy of Sharing tree. They had just experienced a family tragedy.
“So our son Elias was nine years old and passed away last November on the 22nd from a mitochondrial disease called merff.” said Joel.
Mitochondrial disease is a genetic disorder. Elias’s body essentially lacked the energy needed for his body to function. And even though he had been diagnosed for several years, the infection that took his life was unexpected.
Joel added “We certainly did not anticipate him not coming home from the hospital after that visit.”
Despite their pain, Elias’s parents wanted to fulfill their son’s wish, that no child go without on Christmas morning.
Sarah stated “He really wished that Santa would bring all of the kids that didn’t have toys, something for Christmas. That was something that stuck with me and after he passed and wanting to do something to help kind of keep his memory and wishes going, we jumped right on it.” She added “Even though he knew how sick he was, he was always thinking of other children.”
This year, Elias’s family is doing it again. They’ve begun collecting toys in their sons honor and memory, to go to the “Joy of Sharing” campaign.
Joel stated “I think Elias’s concern was those kids who didn’t have and wanting to get them them to have something, and I know that’s the type of families that I think get help through a program like that, so I think he would be very happy with that.”
They’ll be bringing toys to our lobby this year and when you do, too, you can do so in Elias’s memory which is very much alive.
“He’s always here, at least in our hearts.” concluded Sarah.