The Butterfly that Started it all



Butterfly Dreams Pageants was created in memory of a special butterfly named Paul Jr. (P.J.) He was our Founder, Syndi Sills, older brother. PJ was born with Down syndrome in 1960 at which time the doctors expressed their sympathies that he would not live past the age ofeighteen. PJ proved them wrong by a long shot. Not only did he see the age 49, but he would have lived even longer had he not been taken tragically in a car accident while he was traveling to attend one of his favorite activities. Nonetheless having Down syndrome did not stop P.J. from living a wonderful fun filled life.

When they were young, P.J. and Syndi competed in pageants together, winning many trophies and awards. They also took dance and modeling classes. When they weren’t participating in extra-curricular activities or going to school, they had chores to do.Growing up in Loxahatchee, FL gave them the opportunity to raise many different animals. They would feed all the horses, chickens, pigs, goats, dogs,cats, snakes, birds, hamsters, collect the eggs from the chicken coop, and then clean all the stalls. But they did it together, and somehow always made it fun.

As they grew up, they remained close, learning to ride bikes, going to the movies, cheering each other on at various life events (Syndi cheered P.J. on at Special Olympic games, P.J. cheered Syndi on at college graduation). During a very tough surgery for Syndi in 2007, P.J. never left her side. In fact he was even there the day she met her husband Ken in Disney World. There was never a time when PJ wasn’t there, until 2009 when he was called to his heavenly home. This left an emptiness in Syndi, one that could only be filled when she saw or interacted with individuals like her brother.

After being inspired by pageants for other disabilities, Syndi realized the best way to honor and remember P.J. and also fillthe emptiness, would be to start an organization that would provide opportunities, like the type they experienced together, to others with disabilities similar to P.J.’s. The name waseasy, she’d always loved butterflies. They are beautiful, unique and delicate. And, they symbolize rebirth, a new beginning, hope,achievement and a heavenly sign.

And so, Butterfly Dreams was born from the butterfly that started it all, her beloved P.J.