For Colorado parents Liz and Chris Kawulok, May 12 is a day of great sadness, but also great joy. The Kawuloks’ twin sons, Liam and Luke, died before their first birthday. They would have turned 2 today.
This year, Liz and Chris came up with a way to celebrate their late sons, even as they grieve. On May 12, the couple is challenging everyone who hears their story to perform a dozen acts of kindness in honor of the twins’ birthday.
Luke and Liam’s struggle to survive began in utero, when at four months’ gestation doctors discovered a rare disease known as Twin-to-Twin-Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS). One child was receiving too much blood, while the other was receiving too little.
An emergency surgery saved the boys, who were born eight weeks early, on May 12, 2015.
“As soon as we got them into the NICU, they were thriving,” Liz Kawulok told local news station KCNC-TV.
“They were goofballs,” Chris Kawulok said. “We loved those little guys.”
But the journey did not end there. The Kawulok twins were soon diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called lissencephaly, or “smooth brain.” Doctors estimated the boys’ life expectancy to be two years.
Faced with the devastating news, Liz Kawulok recalls confronting two options:
“You [can] either be angry, or you can decide to suck it up and enjoy every second with them, and that’s what we did,” Liz told KCNC.
The Kawuloks took the twins home and cherished their time together as a family.
“Every time they’d smile or they would coo or make noise or giggle, it was something we didn’t know they would ever do,” Chris said. “So it was really kind of a special moment every single time.”
Liam was seven months old when he died peacefully in his parents’ arms. Luke passed away four weeks later.
“I truly believe that he died because his brother wasn’t here anymore,” Liz said.
Now, every May 12, Liz and Chis Kawulok will commemorate the boys’ birthday by performing 12 acts of kindness. This year, they’re inviting others to join them.
“We don’t want them to be forgotten,” Chris said.
The couple is asking participants to post their acts of kindness on social media using the hashtag “#forLandL.”
The Kawulok family is a living testimony to the truth that love conquers loss — even the tragic loss of a child. On March 6, 2017, Liz gave birth to a daughter name Zosia Luli — “Lu” for Luke and “li” for Liam.
“We have holes in our hearts and she’s like the flowers around the holes,” Liz told KCNC.
Read more about the Kawuloks’ incredible journey of love by visiting their website.
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