Local community unites to #LoveLowenOutLoud
FULTON - Birthdays are a big deal to children, and Lowen Goosey's second birthday party was no different.
Balloons, cupcakes, and even a mascot were all present for the celebration.
Only one thing was missing: little Lowen. She has been in the hospital since September 9th.
What was initially diagnosed as the flu turned out to be an E. coli infection that attacked Lowen's kidneys, caused multiple seizures and nearly killed her.
People in her hometown of Fulton didn't know what to do.
"There was this desperation. As the condition of Lowen continued to worsen, we all felt hopeless and wanted to give more," Keli Tate said.
When Tate heard about Lowen's need for blood transfusions to stay alive, she called up the Red Cross to set up a blood drive.
"They just laugh when they meet with us, Fulton is crazy," Tate said.
The idea was crazy. A blood drive typically takes at least three months to organize.
Lowen's birthday blood drive took two weeks to come together.
"In 48 hours, I had a full appointment schedule. Which is just unheard of," account representative Ashlea Wineland said.
The entire community got on board.
"People have dropped anything and everything they have had going on. Work. Commitments. Whatever. To come out and celebrate with us," Wineland said.
And people kept on coming.
"There are more volunteers right now than there are donors," volunteer Kelly Borman said.
It did not stop there. Two other blood drives in the area found out about Lowen's situation.
"The other drives were already scheduled and as soon as they found out about today's blood drive they said 'We are going to adopt the cause,'" Borman said.
Tate explained this is a typical reaction to trauma in Fulton.
"Nobody is scared to hand over everything to make sure people in our community feel loved," Tate said.
Tate added that Fulton does not have a lot to give to begin with, and she is right. Fulton's median annual income is $10,000 below the state average.
"When a community comes around like this, you can't help but feel personally impacted," Wineland said.
Tate has experienced a similar situation to Lowen's. She spent the first couple weeks of her son's life in the NICU when he was born prematurely.
"Having a child in the hospital that you can't touch, and sometimes aren't even allowed to see or hold, is definitely one of the most traumatic experiences any mother or father could experience," Tate said.
But right now, everyone's goal is to #LoveLowenOutLoud. The hash tag is trending on Facebook, plastered on t-shirts, and on the lips of everyone in the community.
"We are all here for you. We love you. We support you. And we are praying for you. And we know God's got you, little Lowen," Borman said.