Recently our Courageous Faces family had unbelievable heartache when one of our own, Erin McDowell, unexpectedly passed away.

Erin, who was Patricia Erin McDowell, met Trish, Patricia Marie Morris, President, CEO and Founder of Courageous Faces Foundation when the two Patricia’s were introduced they hit it off immediately. As soon as Erin learned about the foundations mission, she wanted to volunteer. She had a Master of Science in Nursing & years of experience including being an emergency flight nurse.

She knew her skills, talents and experience would benefit the Champions of the foundation, people with rare and severe medical conditions whom the foundation serves.

Countless times she was our medical advocate for our Champions and their families traveling to their states and working to bring their doctors, nurses, therapists, and caseworkers together to provide the best quality of medical care and outcomes. During frequent foundation medical trips Erin was instrumental in gaining another year of life for our champion KJ, her medical advocacy for him contributed to his receiving the treatment and services he so desperately needed. And in one of his last messages our champion KJ was also ever so thankful signing “I. L.O.V.E  Y.O.U.”

Though she dealt with health issues of her own, she never complained. It was probably just one of the many reasons she was such a fantastic nurse practitioner because of her understanding of what patients go through.

She was happy to help do anything the foundation, Champions or our board needed. She preferred to stay out of the spotlight, never wanting to focus on her amazing talents or the gifts she continually shared.

When Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston, Courageous Faces Champion, Reggie Bibbs wanted to help his community.  Erin stepped in and doubled the donations the foundation sent so that many local kids received much needed items.

Marcus Jackson, Courageous Faces board chairman has an annual event called Burgers and Bags where he gives away free new backpacks filled with school supplies for underprivileged children. Last year he asked Erin if she would be willing to provide school physicals as many of the kids might not otherwise be able to get one. Erin not only said yes, she recruited friends and family members to help, ordered and paid for all the supplies she needed and did the physicals for five straight hours in a non-air-conditioned RV when the temperatures were in the high 90s.

 

In addition to all Erin’s work for the foundation, at least one week a year, she volunteered with Cambodia’s Jeremiah’s Hope. Traveling with a medical team she helped perform lifesaving surgery on people with damaged heart valves. If not for the surgeries, many of those she helped would not have lived to see their 30th birthday.

Erin loved her family, sisters Margie and Cindy, their mom Margaret.  When at home Erin’s life was centered around her dogs (her babies) Kody and Guinness. She adored their big brown eyes and constant need for cuddles, not to mention their unconditional love and gratitude. Erin, who enjoyed southern cuisine, was quite an accomplished chef who loved to cook. She devoured cooking shows on TV and took cooking classes with one of her sisters or friends. She even grew her own herbs and vegetables to use in her delicious cooking.

Despite her dedicated serious medical side, Erin brought joy to everyday life and situations. She could find fun in the ordinary, like the time she made a pouty face out of her hash browns when the restaurant was out of her favorite grits. The foundation office was always lighter and brighter when Erin was in.

Erin demonstrated endless support for our Champions with constant communication where her heartfelt care and compassion always came through. Erin made an incredible positive impact in our world, for the foundation and our champions. Her standard of dedication, generosity and giving was exemplary. She will be deeply missed by all of us and everyone who was blessed to know her, simply because she was one of a kind and irreplaceable.

Erin, we all miss you and you will be in our hearts forever