Levi Stephen Collom - A Life Gone Too Soon

Levi Stephen Collom was a happy, healthy, 3 1/2 year old boy that died unexpectedly and with no answers. He was the precious son of Glenn Collom and Ellie Woods Collom. The baby brother of Victoria Collom. The grandson to Steve and Viney Mosley, Bobbie Collom and the late Charles Collom and Steve Woods. The great-grandson of Maxine Woods and the late James Woods.

Here is Levi’s story, in the words of his Mother, Ellie.

Levi woke up on Saturday, March 17th, 2012, with a slight fever. He snuggled up with his sister on the couch that morning while they watched cartoons. That is a memory that I cherish. He told me he wasn’t feeling well and he was cold. I took his temperature and it was around 100. I gave Levi some Motrin and he began to feel better.

Our family left the house and went to Cape Girardeau for lunch and did a little shopping. We went to a local restaurant, and Levi played in the children’s area. He had the biggest smile on his face. We even stayed extra long because he was having so much fun. We headed home after that and Levi and Glenn (his daddy) played in the backyard.

Victoria and I left to go to Sikeston, because I had a contract that needed a signature for a house that I sold (one that I will never be able to go into again). I remember telling Levi bye, and that I loved him. He still had the biggest smile on his face. He was in our backyard playing on his John Deere 4-wheeler and his swing set. My only regret is that I didn’t go give him a hug and a kiss.

Glenn said that not long after we left the house they came inside. Levi fell asleep on the couch and Glenn carried him into his bedroom so he could nap comfortably. Glenn said that after about an hour or so, he went in to check on Levi. Levi woke up and told his daddy he was still sleepy and wasn’t ready to get up yet. This was a common thing, so Glenn though nothing about it.

Glenn went downstairs, and about 10 minutes later, he heard a noise. He went back upstairs to check on Levi and that is when he found him, face-first in his toddler bed. Glenn rolled him over and saw that Levi was not breathing and had no pulse. He started CPR and called 911. The sheriff’s dept. and EMTs were at the house quickly.

Levi was taken to an area hospital ER where they worked on him for several hours. They said they got his heart to beat again but that he kept having cardiac arrest. A children’s hospital from St. Louis brought their nurses down to take Levi to St. Louis. When he got to St Louis, they worked on him for nearly 8 hours, but they could not bring him back to us.

Levi died on the morning of March 18th, 2012.

In our hearts, we knew that Levi was gone when Glenn found him, but because of advancements in medical procedures, they were able to get his heart beating by medicine only. Within a short time, his body was rejecting all of those advanced procedures.

We were all able to hold Levi while he died. I was cradling him, his daddy was holding his head and his mimi was holding his feet, while grandmaw Bobbie was touching him. We were all there when his body stopped. When this happened, I felt like I was in a fog.

There were two things that were immediately very difficult after that. One, I had to tell Victoria that her brother didn’t make it and see her face, and two, we had to leave him in St. Louis and drive home without him. That was the emptiest feeling a parent can ever experience.

One thing that makes no sense is how a healthy child that is past the age for SIDS (12 months) can go to sleep and not wake up. The fog of confusion still follows me to this day. We have found a support group where there are many other families that have suffered the exact tragic event that we have. Finding this group was a relief, but has also been heartbreaking. There are families introduced from around the world that have lost their toddler-aged children just like Levi. I have never heard of this; how can this happen to so many other people?

SUDC (Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood) is the name of the group. go to their website to read more information about SUDC. We will be entering into their research program to hopefully one day have answers. I am prepared to not have the answers, but hopefully the research can help another family from never having to go through the pain of having a healthy child one day and not the next.

This is something that I relive everyday, which is why our family, which is so supportive and loves Levi so much, decided that we wanted to do something special to remember Levi, so we set out to build Levi’s Adventure Trail in Cape Girardeau.

Originally, our thoughts were to do something amazing to keep Levi’s Legacy alive. Now, we have Levi’s Adventure Trail, the tree that grew from an acorn. We are very proud of the playground, and we know Levi would be very proud of it.