He spoke three languages fluently: French, Italian and English. Educated in Europe and the States, he had a way with people. Everyone loved him, adored his smile and laughter, appreciated his knowledge. On top of being brilliant, he was beautiful. Hair as black as midnight, deep set brown eyes and a pensive, serious stare, analyzing the world and all in it. Xavier Dolino was a wonderful man. Before finding my soul mate, Adam, Xavier was my boyfriend. But more than that he was my friend.
And as far as an inspiration, he inspired thousands and the co-founder of Hour of Power and an international health guru.
His friends in Dublin, Ireland knew him for his serious workout sessions at his studio and his rock hard abs cut to perfection. I knew him as something graceful and charismatic. A man that I could talk to about just about anything and often did. We would spend hours on the phone talking. The cell phone bills were ungodly.
I can’t believe that he is gone. Just a year ago, we were talking about his last trip to Italy to live off the land and ride bikes through the countryside. Two years ago he was at the Arnold Classic defying physics with his intense workout regiments. Even though I had moved on with my life and he had moved on with his, we were still dear friends, because we had never crossed each other or done anything wrong to each other. We simply were at different points in our lives.
Then there was Baby Joe. The best Boxer in all the world. He was man’s best friend, especially Xavier’s. I remember once he sent me a picture of Baby Joe in a Bruno lime green outfit. I had had a horrible week and needed cheering up. Xavier knew just the trick. I opened my email and laughed for days. I still thank him for that.
Both French and Italian, he had a wonderful way of seeing the world. We often talked of his time in Florida while studying abroad and how those had been some of his most exciting memories as a young man. I used to try out my French on him, holding long conversations butchering his native tongue, but he was kind. He would indulge me and only correct me afterwards, always starting off the conversation with “you are magnificent, but you messed up a few words, love.” Then he would say it the right way and it always sounded better coming from his mouth. We did the same in Italian. Often, when I would get really excited about something, I would speak to him in Italian and French at the same time. He would laugh, but he always understood me. I gave a new meaning to bilingual.
When my husband was ill a few years ago, he would send words of encouragement. He would share personal things with me to give me hope. I never once heard him speak a negative word…not in all the years I knew him. Not one negative word about anyone or anything, even when he got sick last year.
His friends held him in the highest regard. Gordon was one of his best friends. How he loved Gordon. But he always spoke of all his friends in the highest regard, like he was surrounded by royalty. He had a way with making everyone feel special. His team of guys was his second family. He would always send me pictures of them – a group of happy fellows and women who were always striving for a more healthy world. The last time I spoke with him, he was training for a 2011 event where he was working out like crazy. He reminded me of Adam in that way. I guess that I’ve always loved athletes, people willing to take their bodies to the next level through mind over muscle.
I miss him as I’m sure that everyone does, especially his dear brother, Daniel, his parents and his friends back home in Ireland. He would always come to the states for the Arnold Classic. I’ll miss hearing about his trips and hearing about his dreams. But I’m glad to have known him. I wouldn’t give that time up for anything.
He was the kind of guy that would make a beautiful leading role in one of my romance novels…the kind of guy that you fall head over heels in love with after a few pages. I’m sure in the future, I’ll try to make a story around him, though I’m sure it will never capture all of his beautiful essence. It will have to be my way of memorializing him.
I’m sure that hundreds of thousands of people have stories like mine. They have friends, family, loved ones who have been taken away by cancer. And just like Xavier, they had a story that shouldn’t have ended so soon.
As I write this with tears, I know in my heart that we must continue to fund cancer research. We must find a cure. We have lost too many already.
I worked for AlSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for a while in college. As an intern there, I developed and implemented Stepping for A Cure, a program that reached out to HBCUs nationwide and encouraged Greek organizations to coordinate step shows that would benefit sickle cell research as well as other catastrophic diseases. My boss, Chuck Donlin, was the kind of man who supported a good thing. He pushed me to make it happen and the Memphis Police Department and local alumni chapters of all the Divine Nine were there to support me. It was a marvelous event, but it was the purpose that really pushed me to see it through. It was about saving lives…saving people through working together.
Shortly after taking the job, I lost a friend from high school, Matt (my first kiss) who passed away and was buried on September 11th. I never made it to his funeral, but I remember feeling so sad when I heard that he had passed. A friend came by my mom’s house and told me. I grew up with him from fourth grade until graduation. On my first day at a new school, Matt became my first friend. He gave me a kiss under the tires on the playground. He never got the chance to graduate from college, marry, have children. He too was taken from the world too early. There were many others. My own grandmother (paternally) fights the disease every day.
Cancer does not discriminate. It’s a tool of the devil to rob, kill and destroy. But I know that Jesus came so that we might have life and have it more abundantly. Through him there has to be a cure…an answer.
I pray for Xavier’s family and every family like his. I pray for my own family. And I still appreciate that God allowed these people to have lived and to have touched as many lives as they did.
I took this from another close friend’s blog. He said, ”
It is his mentor and close friend Dragan Radovic, who today has invited everyone who knew Xavier (or would simply like to honour him) to perform 100 continuous lifts of any dumbbell. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing today – to take 5minutes from your schedule to do these 100 lifts. To take a minute’s silence to remember the man…then take 5minutes of physical action to honour what the man stood for. It is absolutely what he would have wanted.”
I got to 50, Xavier. You know me…
I’ll miss you, Xavier.
Here are some links of him doing his thing:
XoXo and all that jazz,
Latrivia S. Nelson