Bowen Johnson's Story


Bowen Johnson is your average 8 year old. He loves super heroes and video games. The only thing different about him is his appearance. That's because in 2008, over 85% of his body was burned.

"He thought the gas can was a watering can and had poured it out. And I was running the dryer and the fumes ignited and the gas can exploded. It wasn't a scream, it was just a sound and I knew it was him. I started to panic because I had opened the door and I saw nothing but flames, and I just thought to myself, my God, my baby's in there and I have no way to get him out." -Eva Fortunato

His life is nothing short of a miracle.

"They took us in the room and said, we just want to prepare you, your son's heart has stopped twice. We're not sure how strong his heart is gonna be, if he can handle more, and it was just like a wake up call. We just started talking to him and telling him how much we loved him and they decided not to put him back on the dialysis machine because his heart couldn't take it. And they tried these other methods to help him urinate properly, and everyday it got better." -Eva

With the severity of his condition, Bowen may never be able to play sports. But, that doesn't mean he won't get to be on his favorite team. Saturday night Bowen signed with the McNeese Basketball team and is no a member of their starting line up.

"Now I got sizes, and we're hoping you're going to grow into this size by 2024, you gone be ready to go.."

"Obviously that was a lagniappe for us, we received so much yesterday by incorporating/adding Bowen to our program." - Coach Dave Simmons

"It was really good, really good." -Bowen Johnson

He will get to partake in all cowboy activities including pre game, being in the locker room, and sitting on the bench during games.

"I think the more reinforcement of having that confidence. The players go out on the court, they have to have confidence in what they do, and they don't worry about the people in the stands, they're focused on what they need to do. And I want Bowen to have that confidence." -Eva

And while his surgeries will continue as his body changes, it's Bowen who will be changing the lives of everyone he meets, especially his new teammates.

"McNeese, McNeese Cowboys!" -Bowen

"We've already got a lot blessed from it, I think the kids on our team. It teaches them all the difficulties that they go through life, he is a young man, a young kid, exceeds anything that has ever happened in their lives at this junction, by millions of knowledge. So, hopefully we take that and run with it. And obviously we will benefit from it." -Simmons