Timmie Bowie is about to be a junior at Highland High School.
She’s signed up for all AP classes, she’s class president, she’s already getting recruited for her skills as point guard on the basketball team and she volunteers her time working with Make-A-Wish, Relay for Life and as a youth sports coach.
It might sound like this story is about Timmie getting a scholarship or an award, but it’s not. It’s about her developing aplastic anemia, a life-threatening disease that sapped her ability to make white blood cells, confining her Primary Children’s Hospital for a month, and now, to her home.
In a basketball highlight reel, Timmie glides down the basketball court guarding her opponent. She loses control for a moment, but regains it immediately, stealing the ball and passing it to her teammate who goes in for a basket. That was before the disease caused her to nearly black out during a routine jog back in June.
Now, her mom, Amy, unwraps Timmie’s leg to reveal the hole left by a bruise that developed into an infection that spread from Timmie’s pick site in her arm. Doctors said it could have cost Timmie her leg — or even her life.
“The hematologists call it the miracle leg. We’re looking at a miracle. She beat the odds,” Amy said.
Timmie spent a month in Children’s Primary Hospital in Salt Lake City, and doctors operated on her leg eight times in 18 days before the muscle finally tested as healthy. The all-star athlete wasn’t allowed to move from her bed.
“I just could look out the window and see other little kids, and they would wave and blow me kisses, and that would be the highlight of my day, for sure,” Timmie said.
And though tears well in her almond brown eyes, Timmie continues to beat her pain. This 16-year-old girl raised more money for the Make-a-Wish Foundation than has ever been raised locally, helping Hatcher Wheatley and his family. The Wheatleys turned around to support her.
“They’ve been a great example to me of strength and perseverance and hope, so they definitely help me get through each day,” Timmie said.
Timmie’s effort is reflected in everything around her. It’s in the scrapbook that Timmie’s friends made her, or the way that Amy said the doctors wanted Timmie to be their patient; Timmie gives so much, and now, it’s coming back to her.
“There’s something special about her. She just was born with an ability to love people and care about people and put them at ease and make them feel good about themselves. She was just born that way,” Amy said.
After a month at Children’s, Timmie’s infection rate finally came down enough to let her come home, but she still can’t leave her house. She’s waiting for the immunosuppression therapy to help her start making white blood cells, and if it doesn’t, she’ll have to travel to Washington, D.C., for a risky bone marrow transplant. Timmie is bi-racial and doesn’t have any full siblings, so she would have to get two partial transplants, Amy said.
But she’s never given up, and this life-long champion will never cease to be amazing.
“I figure that it’s going to make me stronger somehow and that one day, I’ll be better than I was, for sure. I’m going to be more compassionate for sure. So I guess it’s worth it,” Timmie said.
To help the Bowie family with all of its emotional, mental and monetary expenses, Timmie’s friends are hosting United for Timmie, a city-wide variety show. It’s happening on Aug. 22 at 6:30 p.m. at the Pocatello High School Auditorium. Tickets are $10 per person and there will be music, dancing, magic and more. Tickets can be purchased at Barrie’s Ski & Sport, CitiFirst Mortgage, Geraldine’s Bake Shoppe and McKee’s.
Go to friendsoftimmiebowie.com for more details.