MMA fighter Marcus Kowal and partner Mishel Eder said goodbye to their 15-month-old son Liam tonight as the life-support machines that had kept his body alive after a hit-and-run accident in California Saturday were switched off.
Kowal, who is from Sweden, posted a final photograph on Facebook showing his son’s tiny, scratched hand with the caption, ‘Good night bebisen (baby), you’ll always be with us. Pappa älskar dig (Daddy loves you).’
Eder also shared a snap showing her holding her son’s hand next to a soft toy and said: ‘Saying good bye to my light, my love before he goes to save lives. This pain is unbearable. Liam, I love you. Hug your children, kiss them always. Don’t lose patience. Laugh with them often. Get off your phones and play games. #rememberliam”‘
The day had been made even more stressful for Kowal by a series of desperate calls from parents hoping they could harvest Liam’s organs for their own children.
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Loved: MMA fighter Marcus Kowal posted this on his Facebook page Tuesday. It reads: ‘Good night bebisen (baby), you’ll always be with us. Pappa älskar dig (Daddy loves you)’
Eder also shared a snap on the GoFundMe page showing her holding her son’s hand next to a soft toy and said: ‘Saying good bye to my light, my love before he goes to save lives. This pain is unbearable. Liam, I love you. Hug your children, kiss them always’
Tragic: Liam Kowal (pictured center, with mom Mishel Eder and his father) had his life support turned off Tuesday night. He had been left brain-dead after a hit-and-run incident Saturday
Accused: Donna Marie Higgins (left), 72, allegedly struck Liam and his 15-year-old aunt, who is alive but ‘seriously injured.’ Kowal (right) said there was now ‘a void’ in his ‘soul’
KOWAL’S PAINFUL REQUEST
Earlier Tuesday, Kowal pleaded on Facebook for his followers to stop handing out his phone number to parents in need of donated organs:
‘Please, I beg of you: for you that have my cell phone number, do not give it out to hopeful strangers that have children in need of organs. Please.
‘We are dealing with enough right now – I cannot take on other people’s pain.
‘I’ve received 100s of messages from hopeful parents and I can’t even continue to write “I’m so sorry, his organs have already been donated.” Let alone, tell a crying mother over the phone.
‘I wish I could do more but I can’t. My baby’s organs have been donated and I beg of you, please, please do not give out my number. Let us mourn in peace.’
In a post on Monday, Kowal said that Liam’s organs would be put up for donation and asked to be put in touch with hopeful parents.
But on Tuesday he asked his friends to stop handing out his cell phone number, saying that he had received hundreds of messages from hopeful parents, and having to turn them down was taking its toll on his well-being.
‘We are dealing with enough right now,’ he said. ‘I cannot take on other people’s pain.’
Liam was just 15 months old when a 72-year-old woman drover her car into his stroller Saturday, according to police.
The boy and his 15-year-old aunt were within the boundaries of a crosswalk in Hawthorne, California, when Donna Marie Higgins, 72, drove into them then fled, cops claim. Marcus Kowal was also present.
On Sunday Kowal wrote on Facebook: ‘About an hour ago, our baby was declared brain dead. He tried to fight so hard. He even died at one point but they brought him back. He’s a little fighter.’
‘His heart is still beating but his brain is no longer working,’ Kowal continued. ‘Our hearts are broken and there’s a void in my soul but we will get through this.’
Heartbroken: Liam was in his stroller when he was hit in what police say was a drunk-driving incident on Saturday. He had internal injuries and was left brain dead and on life support
Liam and his young aunt – identified as the sister of Kowal’s partner, Mishel Eder on a GoFundMe page – were hit on Saturday afternoon.
She was hospitalized with serious injuries, including some to her legs, while Liam was found still strapped in his stroller, not breathing and with no pulse.
He was taken to Harbor UCLA Medical Center with internal injuries, and eventually declared brain dead there.
Witnesses followed Higgins in their own cars then blocked off her escape routes until cops arrived, Hawthorne Police said.
Begging: On Tuesday Kowal asked his Facebook followers to stop handing out his cell phone to parents in search of organs, as it was too painful to keep disappointing them
She was given an on-the-spot sobriety test and was arrested on suspicion of felony hit and run and felony drunk driving.
Higgins posted bail, but Hawthorne Police Department said in a statement that it is planning to pursue addition charges against her.
Killed: Liam suffered internal injuries, was not breathing and had no pulse when paramedics arrived Saturday. He was later declared brain dead at Harbor UCLA Medical Center
Sweet dreams: Kowal posted this photo of Liam on Friday; he had hopes his son might follow in his footsteps
On Monday Kowal also asked for help finding a recipient for Liam’s organs – a post he would later regret.
‘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.’ he wrote.
‘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.
‘It hurts to write this but Liam loved to share and the person we were going to raise him to be would love to help someone else.’
A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money for the Kowals and as of Tuesday night had raised over $110,000.
Marcus Kowal, who is from Sweden, has five fights on his record according to Sherdog.com, scoring three wins and a draw since 2009.
He is the CEO of Systems Training Center Encino.
Donation: Kowal wrote this message Monday, saying he hoped to be put in contact with parents who needed organs for their child. But he ended up receiving hundreds of calls
Fighter: Kowal has fought five matches, of which he won three and drew one. He works as the CEO of a fight training school