13 Sep

September 13th

Today…why is it that today seems so different than other years? Oh…but it isn’t! The memories of the previous September 13th anniversaries seem to fade or become less intense as the days go by, and then before I know it….September 13th is back. This is an anniversary I don’t want to “celebrate”, but I can’t not celebrate, or honor, or acknowledge this day. My heart and mind won’t allow me, and I am glad. I know that some people would think that is strange or weird, but it is actually good for me. It’s all about love, for my son, for his memory and legacy, and for the great loss we feel without him here. There will always be an empty chair at our table for Paul, if only in our hearts.
And so today I write and work a bit on my book. Today I will do all the “normal” day-to-day activities, all the while remembering and feeling pain. The memories come flooding back even when I don’t invite them in; and once again they remind me that they are permanent residents in my heart, and that is ok. I don’t want to ever forget the pain, for to forget would be to stop loving Paul.
Today sacred tears will well up in my eyes. Today we will deliver goodies to the two fire stations that answered the 911 calls and tried their best to give him a chance at life. Today I will think of those who flew the Nightingale medical helicopter to pick up our 18-year-old boy, whose brain was traumatized by the single car accident that ultimately cost Paul his life. Today I will cry and pray and feel pain and joy because we had Paul for 18 years and 10 months. Today I will begin the 12th “Week of Grace”.

27 Jan

Save the Date for the the 9th Annual Paul C. Harris GBHS Scholarship Fundraiser!

Friday, May 15th, 2015
This year\’s Senior Night and Scholarship Fundraiser will be held on a Friday which is great! We play Hickory High School, so plan on attending two exciting varsity games.

Want to help out, or make a donation? You can contact Cindy Harris (charris858@aol.com).

The Paul C. Harris Great Bridge High School Scholarship was started in memory of Paul Harris. He was an incredibly outgoing, athletic and vivacious 18 year old, as well as a lifelong soccer player in Chesapeake. He graduated from Great Bridge High School in June of 2006. During his high schoolcareer, Paul was a player on the G.B.H.S. Junior Varsity and Varsity soccer teams. He valued histeammates, his opponents and those in the stands cheering for him. He was loved by many on and off the field.

Hope to see you there!

03 May

Two Weeks Away from Paul\’s Fundraiser!

From the heart…This has been a busy, but rewarding spring. We have had a wonderful group of people working on Paul’s fundraiser, which, by the way… is two weeks away! Tuesday, May 20th seems like just a minute away when we think of all the work that has yet to be done and how fast time flies.

My heart is full when I think of the strong and steadfast group of people who have been working to make this year’s event another success. We had 16 applicants for Paul’s scholarship, thanks to the staff at Great Bridge High School, especially the guidance counselors who publicized in the in house TV and in the announcements. They encouraged students to apply and helped them out. I am honored and can’t wait to give the scholarships out at the end of this month!

About Paul’s fundraiser, which raises money for the scholarships; the Planning Team, though smaller than some years, has worked diligently and with passion to get it all together for the 20th. We have some wonderful prizes and 3 great drawings for the “big” prizes. They are:

~ A week at an ocean front beach house in Duck, North Carolina, the week of Thanksgiving, November 21-28! What a fun place to be for Thanksgiving!! These tickets are $25.00 each and are limited to 150 tickets.

~ A week at the YMCA Camp Silver Beach on the Eastern Shore of Virginia!! This prize is for a child between 8 and 16 at one of the premiere residential camps in the USA!! These tickets are $10 each or 3 for 25.00.

~A weekend during peak season in a King Room soundfront at The Inn on Pamlico Sound in Buxton, North Carolina, the Cape Hatteras area. It is a two night stay with breakfast included and $100 towards a dinner. This is a beautiful inn with gorgeous views, excellent cuisine and a great place for a romantic getaway!! These tickets are selling for $10.00 each or 3 for 25.00.

Please let us know if you would like tickets.

We hope the community will come out, Tuesday, May 20th, and celebrate Senior Night for the two varsity soccer teams, enjoy some good music and fun times, buy tickets for the prizes and baskets, pick up this year’s T-shirt for a $10 donation, and enjoy hamburgers and hotdogs with a great group of people!! Bring your kids, your parents, everyone you can think of and have a great time with us!!

My family and I, along with the Planning Team, thank you for your support during this special time. It is about remembering Paul and who he was…about helping kids…and celebrating with the community and the soccer teams!!

Please pray for good weather and a great night! Please Join Us!!


06 Mar

\”Planning Mode\” for the 8th fundraiser!

It\’s hard to believe that we are in full \”planning mode\” for the 8th fundraiser honoring Paul\’s memory through scholarships! Thanks to an amazing group of volunteers, family and friends, we are in full swing….writing letters, making phone calls, emailing, and talking.

I think the best way to involve people is to share the story, Paul\’s story. And so we share with those we meet for the first time, or talk with for the 8th time, hoping that they will respond with their hearts. We have honored 15 graduating seniors and given over $62,000 in scholarship money to honor students. The scholarships have gone to average students, those who knew Paul and those who just know that he is the red headed guy who someone told them about, students with challenges in their lives, and students with stories that inspire. The recipients are kids who take the time to apply and share their stories in hopes of receiving a \”Paul Harris scholarship\”.

The passion we have for these scholarships came from the love Paul had for people. He loved the popular and those who had few friends. His infectious smile and spirited personality earned him tons of good friends. We have been blessed to be able to help others in his memory. We hope this year\’s scholarship fundraiser will reflect Paul\’s personality through a great community event and that we will raise enough money to give the two largest scholarships ever!

For more details, download our brochure or our flyer.

13 Mar

New Poster for National Donate Life Month!

LifeNet Health is using the below photo/poster as their \”signature\” on correspondence and the poster for National Donate Life month in April. It will be featured throughout Virginia in newspapers and ads encouraging organ, eye, and tissue donation.


It is humbling and honoring of Paul and how he has touched so many as a donor.


06 Feb

The Gift of Life

Tuesday, January 29th, the first Donate Life Virginia Assembly Pin Day was held at the capital in Richmond. Over 70 volunteers and staff members from LifeNet Health, Donate Life Virginia, the Donate Life Virginia Council, and the Lions Medical Eye Bank met in Richmond to spend the day speaking with state legislators and their staff, sharing the message of organ, eye, and tissue donation. A large number of the 70 participants were donor family members and those who received the \”gift of life\” through donation. My husband, Chuck and our daughter, Emily Sheipe were with me on this special day. The day turned out to be more than we could have imagined. The brilliant sun shone down as the weather warmed us after the cold snap which brought snow last week. The sunshine brightened our spirits as we walked into the General Assembly building that morning. Thoughts of Paul , his unquenchable spirit of adventure and his love of people filled our minds. I have spoken and shared Paul\’s story and our commitment to organ, eye, and tissue donation more times than I can count, but this day was not about speaking to a group. This was, of course, an opportunity to share knowledge and information about donation, shaking the hands of the legislators and their staff. It was also a day to meet friends who we have cultivated through the past six years since our son died and to make new friends. But this was also about honoring Paul\’s memory.

Ron Villaneuava of Virginia Beach shared his personal story of the loss of his sister, who was also 18, over twenty years ago. He shared that their family chose to give the gift of life to others by donating his sister\’s organs and tissue. This set the tone for the resolution which he wrote and that was presented to us at the General Assembly later that morning. His beautiful words touched those who were present. John Cosgrove stood by as Ron presented two resolutions, one for Paul and our family and the other for Chris Nalley, from Richmond, who is a double lung transplant recipient. Chris is also a donor advocate speaking across the state as I do. It was difficult to hold back the tears when we all received a standing ovation from the entire General Assembly. The gift of \”hope\” through organ, eye, and tissue donation will continue to be my mission as I strive to reach out and educate while sharing Paul\’s story.

20 Feb

This is what we have hoped for…

Sunday I met a guy at Harris Teeter grocery store. He and I had a pleasant conversation while he checked me out, about school (he\’s a senior at Great Bridge HS) , about how excited he is to be going to Christopher Newport University for college next fall, and of course, the weather. I asked him about sports and what he does in high school…just \”chatting it up\”.

He told me that the only thing that is bothering him about going to CNU is that he has not received any scholarships yet, so of course I mentioned that we have a scholarship at GBHS and that he should apply. \”Do you mean the Paul Harris Scholarship?\”, he asked. I immediately thought that this is what we have been hoping!! This young man didn\’t know Paul, but he knows about the scholarship and that Paul died and his family and the community give these scholarships in his memory!! He immediately thought of Paul\’s scholarship! It was the first time I ever experienced anything like this. This young man\’s family has only lived here a few years and he isn\’t a part of the soccer community, but still…he knows.

These things don\’t take the pain away, but they give me hope that we are indeed honoring Paul\’s memory by helping kids go to college and keeping his memory alive. I also thought as I was standing there how much I miss my son and how I long to know who he would have become and where he would have finished college.

It is the \”what could have beens\” that are the hardest, but honoring Paul and helping others…well, that takes some of the sting away and gives us hope!