Superhero Jacob Joseph Kowalik passed away at age 10 after a long illness on April 16.
Jacob attended Highland Elementary School in Downers Grove. He loved playing sports and superheroes. He is remembered by his family and friends, and the thousands he inspired for his brave spirit.
In 2009 he was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), or pre-leukemia AML. He received a stem cell transplant from a Philadelphia man later that year, and developed Graft-Versus-Host Disease (GVHD), a complication that occurs when recipients reject organ or bone marrow transplants, according to a Patch profile.
Jacob loved looking at art books and painting. He attended school when not sidelined by hospital stays and doctor visits, all the while inspiring those he met to discover their own inner superhero.
"Jacob has always loved superheroes—he loves Spider-Man—so when he was in the ICU and we thought we were going to lose him, we adopted that nickname for him," his mother, Jennifer Kowalik told Patch in 2013. "His hero powers came out and pushed him through."
Jacob was laid to rest on April 22.
He leaves his parents Jennifer and Michael; his brother and sister, Zachary and Isabella; his grandparents, Kathy (late Kim) Wold and Roberta (Alan) Kowalik; and great-grandparents, James Ove and Lorraine Pietrus. He was a superhero to his many cousins, aunts, uncles and friends.
Jacob’s family requests that donations be made in his name to Jacob’s Little Helpers.
On May 24, Christine Ferris and her team will run in Jacob’s honor in the 2014 Pediatric Cancer Run at Soldier Field in Chicago. Ferris and her “Run for Jacob” team helped raise money for Jacob and his family during his illness. (For more information visit the Run for Pediatric Cancer Soldier Field 10 Facebook page.)