Bowen was a beautiful young boy full of energy and life who was diagnosed with autism at three years old. His piercing green eyes, gorgeous curls, and radiant smile made people take notice. He was vibrant, adored Elmo, and loved going to school. He would laugh when you tickled him, run to your side when dinner (or any food, for that matter) was ready, and gave the greatest hugs in the world when you least expected it. He was the perfect child in every sense of the word, and the same could be said as he grew into a young man.
Bowen also happened to have autism. He was never able to speak to his family and had difficulty concentrating on even the most basic tasks. Going into public places was difficult, as were the stares of confusion and often pity from so many strangers. Yet despite his limitations, Bowen was a most beloved son, brother, grandson, nephew, and friend to many individuals, young and old. His impact on the world was undeniable. Nothing could pull a group of double-booked and overextended humans together quite like a gathering in Bowen’s honor. Somehow, without words, he reminded us all that little mattered aside from family and unconditional love.
In essence, Bowen could have been anyone’s child or grandchild; he just happened to be ours.
Bowen’s passing in 2019 rocked our world. In the wake of losing him, we vowed to do everything possible to prevent another family from enduring a tragedy like ours. While we cannot bring Bowen back, we can and will stand steadfast in our commitment to support families with children like him through advocacy, education, and awarding of grant funds. As you can see, Bowen’s positive impact on our community remains undeniable.