Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - When 48–year–old Patrick Plys lost his 17–year battle with brain cancer last January, he left behind Laura—his wife and high school sweetheart—five children, and a lifetime of active generosity.
"[He had] a lot of passions, mainly kids. That was who he was—if there was an opportunity to serve, or to give, or to share his story," said Laura, sitting alongside her oldest son, Chris, who is also noted as an Olympic curler.
"Growing up... it used to be almost to the point where [we] kids would get annoyed, because it was like, 'I want to go out and do something else, I don't want to go feed people,'" said Chris.
Since Patrick's death, Chris has taken over the reigns of the family–owned food brokerage business: Plys Superior Consulting.
Not an easy task, says Chris, but his father's reputation helped make the process easier: "He had a lot of really, really good relationships with people, so I was pretty fortunate to be able to just grab onto those relationships that he had built."
Chris says he'll never forget that his father was truly his number one fan, especially during the 2010 Winter Olympics.
"His face paintings... and being that loud guy out in the stands. I mean, he was probably more photographed than I was up there," said Chris, laughing at a photo of his father in bright, star-eyed makeup.
The Plys family says not a day goes by where they aren't reminded of Patrick's kindness, which is why it only made sense to get behind "Project Joy" in an effort to address Northland childhood hunger.
In partnership with the Northern Lakes Food Bank, the Plys family hopes to raise $50,000 to go toward 14,000 food packs—but additional funding won't be turned away.
"Our goal is just to raise as much money as we can, and fill as many backpacks as we can," said Laura.
...filling the hands of those facing the most need with the joy that still fills the hearts of this Northland family.
The "Project Joy" silent auction and fundraiser will be held this Friday, at the Duluth Curling Club.
Tickets are $20, and if you would like to be a part of spreading the joy, you can find all the information you need HERE