In the fall of 2012, the Sporting Club Network held a clinic for children in St. Joseph Youth Soccer Association with Sporting Kansas City players in attendance. Little did we know, we’d be re-introduced to one of those kids in a completely different setting less than a year later.
Luke Bowie is an eight-year-old soccer player from St. Joseph, Missouri. This spring, Luke was diagnosed with a brain hemorrhage and has overcome the odds in his fight to get through it. Sporting Kansas City defender Aurelien Collin visited Luke when he was in the hospital to offer his support and to try to take Luke’s mind off of everything. Collin stayed so long that as visiting hours were coming to an end, he was politely asked to leave the hospital in order for Luke to receive his proper rest. Following this, SCN staff members took him and his family down to the field after Sporting KC's game on May 8th -- Luke’s first since his hospitalization -- and were more than surprised when Aurelien gave them a private tour of the locker room after the match.
The Sporting Club Network has been honored to meet Luke and to have the amazing opportunity to become a part of his life. With this, the Sporting Club Network wanted to share an account of the Bowie’s experience with Sporting KC, told through their own words:
Holly Bowie (Luke's mother)
"Our life was devastated when our very healthy son became dangerously ill. We were a family that lived, breathed, and slept soccer in every way....but suddenly our priorities completely changed. We forgot about our season tickets and Steve's soccer practices while we diligently waited for our son's recovery. Thanks to a phenomenal teacher and Sporting KC, who does not ever forget the fan, Luke was given a gift that brought him to tears and reminded us why we love the game."
"I was very excited when I heard Aurelien Collin was coming to see me at the hospital. I didn't know this before but I found out that he is very nice. I think it was pretty awesome that somebody famous came to see me. I am really happy that he cares about me."
Alex Bowie (Luke's sister)
"I was almost as excited as Luke that Collin was coming to his hospital room, but mostly I was glad for Luke because Collin got to come and help Luke when he was in his time of need. Collin has done much more than we expected for Luke and I would like to thank him for that."
"We waited outside the garage where the players leave after Sporting KC games. Out of exhaustion, Luke wanted to go home, but played around while the girls screamed and cooed. Then, Aurelien came out to leave, and Luke was hanging on the fence, his eyes lit up, waving at his friend. Aurelien made him feel so special EVERY time they have met. Aurelien Collin has REPEATEDLY shown us that he is not above taking the time to love one scared and sick little boy. In the shadow of Aurelien, Luke's light became brighter and he was reminded how special he is."
Steve Bowie (Luke's Father)
"We have loved the game of soccer for just the right amount of time. We have never expected it to love us back though. What Sporting has done for this sport is what Lincoln did for our country: unite and define. This game is simple. Twenty-two people, one yard, and a ball. Whoever protects the ball best wins. No breaks, no mercy, and no time to argue. At any moment the tide can change and coming back from a deficit is not only possible, but expected. Show me a better definition of American pride than those few words. And that is Luke. These words are what we build our hope on. Overcome the deficit. Come from behind. There is still time left, we can still score!"
"What I find most amazing about this story is that Sporting KC's team of people made these MIRACLES happen for us. When Luke needed to shine, Aurelien was there to make sure it happened. His grace and poise have brought tears to more eyes than mine. This organization has our family locked in for always."
"Collin did not have to give his time to be a great player, but he has. Sporting did not have to call us at home to be loved, but they did. [SCN staff] did not have to meet us in person to be compassionate souls, but they did. For this, we are not just fans, we are invested. The same way your team has invested in Luke. Either way, your and Aurelien’s efforts, have gained four life long, devoted fans. Thank you."
Since last seeing the Bowies, Luke and his family have travelled down to Phoenix to receive a state-of-the-art brain surgery. Originally, the family was told that Luke’s condition was inoperable beyond exposing him to heavy doses of radiation, but beyond all odds, this new procedure worked. Luke is completely cured, and is on the road to to a long, healthy life again. All of those around him can’t wait to see him back at Sporting Park, and even more importantly back on the soccer field.
To stay informed on Luke’s progress as he goes through his recovery, feel free to follow the journal his parents are updating here. To view pictures of Luke’s story, please view the slideshow below: