Texas boy’s legacy will live on in Africa
Liam Lowe had a knack for helping people — in a country halfway around the world or in a hospital bed next door.
Battling leukemia for the second time in less than a year, the boy from Abilene, Texas, made it his mission to cheer up his fellow patients, especially after they got a “poke” from a nurse. He knew what that was like.
“I remember a couple of toddler girls he made friends with,” said his mother, Amy. “He would go and sit next to them, talk to them and make funny faces. Making others smile and laugh was obviously something he thought about and planned for.”
Liam’s sense of caring also will quench thirst for hundreds of people in Africa with no access to clean water. Friends, family and even strangers have donated more than $32,000 in his name to construct water wells.
After rounds of chemotherapy, radiation and multiple stem cell transplants, Liam’s struggle with cancer ended Jan. 17 — four days after his seventh birthday. As his parents receive food and messages of support, they remember their son’s giving spirit.
“I think that Liam was just an exceptionally kind and gentle boy,” said his father, Matt, “and very generous and very concerned about other people.”
Matt and Amy Lowe settled in Abilene, where Matt Lowe works as a computer programmer, after they graduated from Abilene Christian University. The family attends the Highland Church of Christ.
Their son was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia, a cancer of the white blood cells involved in the immune system, in November 2010.
The Lowes spent the next seven months at a children’s hospital in Fort Worth, Texas. Liam received a bone marrow transplant from his 3-year-old sister, Mary. Showing signs of improvement, he returned to Abilene in late June.
Less than a month later, he was back in the hospital with a stubborn fever. He had relapsed.
The family traveled back to Fort Worth, and later to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., for more treatments.
“After his relapse, in an attempt to make each day as meaningful as it could be, we decided that every day in the hospital should include three important things: learning something, making something and loving someone,” his father said.
During one conversation about loving people, Liam told his parents about a picture of a poor boy he had seen working in a factory in a foreign country. The discussion turned to helping those without enough to eat or drink.
Browsing the Internet, the family found the website of The Water Project, a New Hampshire-based nonprofit that funds the digging of clean water wells in developing nations.
The family set up “Liam’s Wells,” a web page to collect donations in his name. Thus far, The Water Project has collected enough money through “Liam’s Wells” to fund four clean water wells. Two have been drilled — one at a primary school and another at a hospital in rural Kenya.
In the days since her son’s death, “when I’ve been sad, I think about all the other people — all the other parents — in the world who have lost their children to something simple, like dirty water,” Amy Lowe said.
She finds comfort in Scriptures about God’s love, including the admonition in John 13:34, “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
Liam lived that verse, Matt Lowe said, and his son’s giving spirit will transform countless lives in Africa.
“I really think we’re going to be trying to live up to him,” he said.
TO CONTRIBUTE to “Liam’s Wells,” see thewaterproject.org/liam
FeedbackEarl: Thanks for the kind words. This story appeared in the March 2012 print issue. It should be arriving in mailboxes within the next week (Feb. 1-8). Each city’s post office is different with regard to when it delivers the print edition. (That’s part of the reason we date them so far ahead.) In the next week or so we will upload the PDF version of the entire issue, which will download when you click the “From the March 2012 Print Edition” link at the bottom of the story. Thanks again!Erik TryggestadMemorial Road Church of ChristEdmond, OK
U.S.January, 31 2012Thanks for the article of Liam Lowe who is my grand nephew. What was the date of the issue of the Christian Chronicle?Earl HerringtonRiverside Church of ChristKerrville, TX
USAJanuary, 31 2012i lost my father with throat cancer and had no money even to send him to hospital for treatment and i know how ruthless cancer it is i share with you in your great loss of a promising youngman and find comfort and solace in thateven the church lost a promising servant and is in the bossom of God.shorayi mubvumbipreacher,Chegutu church of ChristChegutu, mashonaland west
ZimbabweJanuary, 30 2012I found your article on young Liam to be inspiring, challenging and informative. Thank youRaymond CoatsRio Vista church of ChristRio Vista, California
USAJanuary, 30 2012I am so sorry in your loss of your son. We lost our 10 yr. old daughter, Sarah Beth, to Ewings Sarcoma= a stubborn bone cancer, in 1985. A sorrow like none else. But isn’t it wonderful that we know we will see them again? That’s what keeps me sane. Childhood cancer – so not fair. love and prayers for you and your familyPebble TedfordHigh Country church of Christ – Show Low, Az.Vernon, Arizona
USAJanuary, 30 2012