The 15-month-old son of MMA fighter Marcus Kowal was on life support Monday after his parents made the decision to donate his organs following a hit-and-run crash by a suspected DUI driver that left the child brain dead in Hawthorne over the weekend.
“I’m going to dedicate the rest of my life to somehow make sure that his life wasn’t in vain,” said Kowal. “He had no pain, you know it was instant and he’s not in pain now. That’s the one thing I know that he didn’t suffer. I’m looking like please just move a little bit, move your chest a little bit but he’s gone.”
Kowal announced his son, Liam Mikael Kowal, had been declared brain dead the day before in a message he posted on his Facebook page Sunday night.
“He tried to fight so hard. He even died at one point but they brought him back. He’s a little fighter,” Kowal wrote. “Our hearts are broken and there’s a void in my soul but we will get through this … RIP Liam Mikael Kowal.”
Liam was in a stroller being pushed by a 15-year-old girl when they were both struck near the intersection of Hawthorne Boulevard and 133th Street late Saturday afternoon, according to a GoFundMe page set up to pay for the little boy’s funeral.
Officers responded to the scene and found the teen and the toddler lying near the crosswalk, according to a Hawthorne Police Department news release.
The 15-month-old boy had no pulse and was not breathing when witnesses found him, police said in a Facebook post.
Liam, who was transported to Harbor UCLA Medical Center and placed in the intensive care unit, succumbed to his injuries, according to the GoFundMe page.
The MMA community has been rallying behind Kowal and his family during this difficult time, according to the father.
“They’re some of the toughest men on the planet, and to see them next to him by his bed crying,” Kowal told KTLA before becoming overcome with emotion.
The teen suffered serious injuries and was last reported to be in stable condition.
“She’s going through surgery, she’s going to be okay but she’s blaming herself and of course it’s not her fault. It’s only one person’s fault,” said Kowal.
Police arrested 72-year-old Donna Marie Higgins after the crash. Higgins allegedly fled the scene and was arrested on hit-and-run and DUI charges, the release stated.
“She was 72-years-old and she has had the chance to make the decisions that she wanted to make her whole life. My son never got to make any decisions for himself,” said Kowal.
She was booked into jail and being held on $100,000 bail, police said.
Liam’s parents hope to donate his organs to other children in need.
“I’m going to turn this into a positive. Up to eight or nine children can be given a life because of him and so that other parents won’t have to go to what we are going through. No parent should have to put their child into the ground.”