Donald William |
Hollowell III was born on September 6, 1993. He passed on Sunday morning July 13, 2014. As with the rest of his life, nothing was easy. He was born with Wolfe-Parkinson-White Syndrome, an irregular heart condition and spent weeks in the hospital as a newborn.
The son of Donald William Hollowell Jr., known as Jay - it was obvious that his father's paramedic skills helped Donnie from the start. Without his dad's knowledge and action he would probably never have survived his early childhood. In his last months he could not have had a better caregiver. Donnie loved his dad. He did not have a reliable mom so Donnie turned to his Dad's stepmom, and called her Nanny. The whole Hollowell family raised Donnie and he always knew on which one to call! Team Donnie existed a long time.
Ascension Episcopal School gave him his elementary education, his prayers and his support. Later on when he was ill he talked about the loving structure and the wonderful teachers he had really got to know there. He loved his old school and even in his late teens would bring special friends to see his old school and teachers. Donnie played soccer, baseball, loved rodeo day, international day, sports day and he learned to play and loved to dress up in costume with children from all over the world, swords and castles were big in his dreams.
With an athletic body he started swimming at four, he loved his swim team and his races. Nothing pleased Donnie more than racing. He would swim all day without complaint. He was a member of the Sharks at Lakeside, loved to win and relay races were his big high! The love of swimming went on through middle school to Cinco Ranch High School where he was a varsity swimmer, loving every minute of the races, companionship, fun and noise. His heart condition gave him some problems but he battled on and won. In summer he had a great time with South Ranch Swim Team in Katy. He graduated from CRHS and went to Texas State in San Marcos where he joined the ROTC in hope of joining the military. As a Life Guard at Royal Oaks Country Club he saved two lives. He almost forgot to mention it when he came home. Boasting was not one of Donnie's attributes.
Donnie loved to travel. He went to Europe with his Nanny every two years and knew the castles and mountains of Wales well. He climbed the Welsh Sugar Loaf and Black mountains with his grandfather and Auntie Sarah. He loved his extended Welsh family. He had fun going to Paris with his Nanny, visiting the Eiffel Tower as a VIP and walking the wine country of France. He flew gliders in Wales, did flips, and said it was the best thing he ever did.
In 2013, during Spring Break, he was diagnosed with one of the worst cancers, Hi-Grade Chondroblastic Osteosarcoma. It is a rare, aggressive, mean and very difficult cancer to treat medically. It is a cancer that targets adolescents and young adults. He had biopsies, followed by very invasive oral and reconstructive surgeries, radiation, more surgical biopsies, and very aggressive chemotherapy. He was admitted to a very promising clinical trial which seemed to be destroying the bone tumors, but was taken out of the trial because the cancer had metastasized to soft tissue areas because of medical treatment delays. He endured massive spinal surgeries, more radiation, and more palliative medical treatments to the end of his life. MD Anderson hospital had some wonderful doctors and staff and some that were not so wonderful. But that will be another story for another day. He had a request, not to say he died battling cancer. He said that was not his way of describing his life. Donnie is not to be defined by his illness. He is to be remembered and loved as Donnie, a beautiful, athletic, funny, bright 20 year old. "Strength and Honor" was his code. As he said, Sometimes the Dragon wins.
Donnie is survived by his loving father, known as Jay. Donnie leaves behind Cathy Hollowell (Nanny) and his grandfather, Don Hollowell; grandmother, Jane Rouyer; Auntie Sarah, Alex and William Horton; Auntie Brooke and Kirby Sebastian; stepmom, Kristi and her two boys, Brent and Beau. Everyone was with him until the end.
There will be a Celebration of Life Service for Donnie on Saturday, July 19, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. at Ascension Episcopal Church, 2525 Seagler Road Houston, Texas 77042.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Ascension Episcopal School, Ascension Episcopal Church or an Osteosarcoma Research Foundation of your choice. Condolences may be offered at
Published in Houston Chronicle on July 17, 2014