A well-known Southern California MMA fighter and his wife have decided to donate their baby son’s organs, after the 15-month-old was disconnected from life support systems Sunday.
Liam Mikael Kowal was being pushed in a stroller by his 15-year-old aunt when both were struck by an SUV Saturday afternoon. The pair was in a crosswalk at the intersection of Hawthorne Boulevard and 133rd Street, which had flashing yellow lights, but was not a stop light.
Liam was taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, where he was left brain-dead. The family decided to remove him from life support Sunday. The baby’s aunt was recovering from leg injuries and was said to be in stable condition.
Liam is the son of MMA fighter Marcus Kowal, a mixed martial arts athlete who owns Systems Training Centers.
Kowal announced on his Facebook page that he and his wife had decided to donate the baby’s organs.
“This isn’t easy to write but Liam is going to donate his organs, so that his little heart can make another child live,” Kowal wrote.
“They made the decision, I think it’s a beautiful decision, and it’s based on the fact that if they can have a set of parents that doesn’t have to go what they’re doing through,” said Thomas Kowal, the baby’s uncle.
Authorities arrested Donna Marie Higgins, 72, on suspicion of felony hit-and-run and felony drunk driving. Hawthorne police said witnesses followed Higgins after she left the scene.
Higgins was released from the Hawthorne jail on $100,000 bail. Since Liam has died, Higgins may now be charged with felony vehicular manslaughter. The district attorney was expected to make a decision about the charges against Higgins Tuesday.
MMA fighter John Robles, a family friend, said Liam will be remembered with love.
“As a child, we look to protect him, but now he is protecting us,” said Robles. “His spirit will live on.”
The family has set up a fundraising page and is accepting donations for a memorial foundation.