The baby son of a well-known Southern California MMA fighter was taken off life support Sunday following what police believe was a DUI hit and run.
But as mixed martial arts expert Marcus Kowal and his wife, Mishel Eder, grieve the unthinkable loss of their 15-month-old only child Liam, they've chosen to turn their tragedy into hope for the parents of another child.
On the day his son was taken from him, allegedly by an elderly drunk driver, Kowal told his Facebook followers that Liam will become an organ donor.
"This isn't easy to write but Liam is going to donate his organs, so that his little heart can make another child live and another set of parents not have to go through what we have to," Kowal wrote.
The fighter and proprietor of Fitness Training Centers also reached out to any Facebook follower who may know someone in need of Liam's heart.
"We were told that we can donate to someone we know. Therefore, I am writing this post to ask if there is a child out there we know that needs a heart or any other organ."
Both heartbreaking and inspiring, the message came a day after Liam was in a stroller being pushed by his 15-year-old aunt in a Hawthorne crosswalk on Saturday when they were struck by an oncoming SUV.
The teen suffered a non-life-threatening leg injury. The intersection has flashing yellow lights but no stop sign, CBSLA reports.
First responders arrived to find Liam unresponsive, according to a Hawthorne PD press release. Surgeons at Harbor UCLA Medical Hospital were able to stabilize him. However, his parents made the decision to remove life support after consulting physicians about his prognosis.
The driver of the SUV was identified as Donna Marie Higgins, 72, who was taken into custody after police say witnesses followed her as she allegedly fled the scene.
Higgins was booked on suspicion of felony hit and run and felony drunk driving. The Hawthorne Police Department Traffic Bureau will be pursuing additional charges against Higgins, according to the release.
Higgins has been released on $100,000 bond. It was not clear Tuesday morning whether she had an attorney.
A GoFundMe campaign has been created as a memorial fund dedicated to Liam.
On behalf of Marcus Kowal, Natalie Minh wrote:
"As anyone can imagine, they are completely shocked, heartbroken, and have a long road ahead of them. Please, if you can, donate anything you can to help them with medical expenses as well as funeral costs. I know Marcus and Mishel were giving their all to building a legacy business for their little family and they have impacted countless lives through their work. As Marcus's business associate and friend, I am starting this GoFundMe to organize our support. No parent should EVER have to bury their child!"