MMA fighter Marcus Kowal has decided to donate his son’s organs after the 15-month-old child was struck and killed in a hit-and-run by an allegedly drunk driver on Saturday.
Liam Kowal was being pushed in a stroller by his 15-year-old aunt on Saturday when they were struck by an SUV in the intersection of Hawthorne Boulevard and 133rd Street in Hawthorne, according to CBS Los Angeles. The toddler was reportedly taken to UCLA Medical Center but was later pronounced brain-dead. His family reportedly removed him from life support on Sunday, and he died shortly thereafter.
The boy’s aunt sustained leg injuries but was reported to be in stable condition.
Police arrested 72-year-old Donna Marie Higgins on charges of felony hit-and-run and felony drunk driving. Prosecutors could add a charge of vehicular manslaughter in the wake of the child’s death.
In a Facebook post, Kowal, a California-based MMA fighter and commentator, said his family had decided to donate the boy’s 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.”
In a follow-up post on Tuesday morning, the fighter requested that social media followers not give out his cell phone number to parents waiting for organ donations for their children.
“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,” Kowal wrote. “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.”
The family has set up a fundraising page to cover funeral and medical costs.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum