When a 2-year-old East Texas boy who was pulled unconscious from a Kilgore hotel hot tub passed away, six children gained new life.
Luke Wayne Killough was pronounced brain dead Friday at Children’s Medical Center Dallas, but his family was able to keep his body alive to save other children through organ donations.
“Luke was the most beautiful soul and a light on our darkest days. His loss is the most painful experience we will ever know, but when there is darkness there is also light,” Chris Helms, the child’s uncle, posted on the family’s GoFundMe page. “Luke was able to donate to other kids that were in his same situation. Luke’s blood type was also a universal donor. Because of his sacrifice, more children could be saved bringing light into their families’ darkest days, which is what my baby boy does.”
As Luke was taken to the operating room, a Hero’s Walk ceremony took place with a vigil by hospital doctors and nurses honoring and applauding him.
Helms, who has helped raise Luke as the boy’s parents have worked out of town, said three patients at the Dallas facility will receive blood immediately.
Unable to fight away tears, Helms said, “Luke will bring life to others. He’s going to bring a bunch of life to kids’ lives.”
Helms said two children will get new kidneys and another his heart. Doctors are trying to save his lungs, and they would like to use his eyes and skin.
The family said other children may be flown into Dallas for their second chance at life because of Luke.
“It’s a transplant hospital. They are working on the paperwork now. They will be moving kids to Children’s,” Helms said. “We will know how many kids total next week.”
Helms explained Luke fought for 48 hours longer than expected, and the family did not stop the ventilator to save the heart.
“It’s going to go to another baby,” Helms said.
About 1 p.m. April 25, Luke’s sister, Tabitha Killough, 4, put on goggles and tried to pull her brother from the hot tub when he was floating head down.
Their father, Scott Killough, who was fixing a bottle for his infant child, tried CPR and Luke finally gained consciousness at Christus Good Shepherd Emergency Center in Kilgore.
The family said they had lived in Kilgore but had started staying with family in Henderson.
Killough had the three children at the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites for a mini-vacation as he was home from work.
Killough and his wife, Dominique Killough, said the children always wear flotation gear at the pool, but they had not put it on yet as they had just arrived.