When Luke Wayne Killough, the 2-year-old who was pulled unconscious from a Kilgore hotel hot tub, passed away, another six children gained new life.

While he was pronounced brain dead on Friday, the family was able to keep his body alive to save other children.

“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 uncle, posted on a the family 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 in Dallas honoring and applauding him.

Helms, who has helped raise Luke as the parents have worked out of town, said three patients at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas will receive blood immediately.

Unable to fight away the tears, Helms sobbed, “Luke will bring life to others. He’s going to bring a bunch of life to kids’ lives.”

Helms said two kids will get a new kidney and another his heart. They are going to try to save his lungs and they would like to use the eyes and skin if possible.

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,” said Helms. “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.

Last Sunday around 1 p.m., 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. The 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 mother, Dominique Killough, said last Tuesday the hospital staff had prepared the family for the worst. The family was in Dallas all last week with Luke.

The family said they had lived in Kilgore, but working out of town they have started living with family in Henderson. The parents take the kids to the lake in the summer and Scott Killough had their three children at the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites for a mini-vacation as he was home from work.

The parents said the children always wear flotation gear at the pool, but they had not put it on yet as they had just arrived.

Helms also said on the GoFundMe page, “First I would like to thank everyone for their donations and prayers during this traumatic time in our life. Things took a turn for the worse. My beloved nephew Luke passed away on April 30, 2021 after a week long hard fought battle, due to severe brain trauma. I would ask if everyone keeps our family in their prayers, we still have a long road ahead. All donations will be applied to Luke’s memorial and his memory with any excess funds being used for services to help his older sister Tabitha and his baby brother Gabriel adjust to the loss of their brother.”


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John is a two-time national columnist of the year and AP award-winner in Texas and New York for breaking news, videos and sports. He earned the Thomas J. Bulson Investigative Journalism award and has appeared on CNBC's American Greed, FOX and CNN.