Weekly Feature

2012-03-29 / Lifestyles

Gone but not forgotten

Family, friends remember young boy

Luke Gould was active in a variety of sports and a leader when it came to neighborhood playtime, according to family and friends. Luke Gould was active in a variety of sports and a leader when it came to neighborhood playtime, according to family and friends.

“He was really just such a good boy. I mean, people say that all the time when something like this happens, but he was a good kid.”

That was the first point that Kate Newton made about the late Luke Gould and the one she came back to again and again.

Newton’s son, Christopher, had been friends with 10-year-old Luke when he suddenly, and unexpectedly, passed away in the middle of the night in November.

For many months, Luke’s family had no answers as to what happened to the strong, active and seemingly healthy boy who died with no warning or sign. Recently, the family found out that Luke was a victim of myocarditis.

Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle, which occurs when one of a variety of infections reaches an individual’s heart.

While there can be symptoms prior to death, that is not always the case, and if Luke ever felt unwell, he never let on. After researching, Amy Voit Skowronski, his mother, said that testing for this type of heart failure is not part of a normal autopsy. As a result, Skowronski is petitioning Sen. Timothy M. Kennedy, D-West Seneca, to pass a bill that would make this test part of the regular procedure.

“This is unacceptable as a parent, and I cannot help but think of all the other parents that will never know why they can no longer tuck their child in at night,” Skowronski said.

While waiting for answers was incredibly difficult for Luke’s family, all who knew him agree that a painful void has been left where there once was a well-loved child. Perhaps it is difficult to define what makes a child good, but by all accounts, Luke was someone special. According to his family, they saw that right from the beginning.

When he was born, the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck and his survival was at risk.

“He was a mess,” Skowronski said. “But he was the most beautiful mess.”

From that day, Luke was on the go and never stopped, according to his grandmother, Diana Voit, whom he referred to as “Brana.”

Luke was an athlete through and through, playing baseball, soccer and hockey in his 10 short years. He was a goalie when he was on the ice, and one that, even at his young age, had gotten the attention of many coaches.

He attended a hockey clinic where he was singled out for his excellence by Sabres players, according to his grandfather, Kevin Voit, whom he called “Papa.”

The young boy continues teaching lessons to those around him, even though he is gone.

His older sister, Jillian Pappagallo, penned a eulogy for him as well as a composition for a class.

The eulogy is titled “Don’t take the time you have here for granted,” and Pappagallo reflects on how short life is and how Luke truly knew what was important, even at a young age.

“He really lived, you know?” said Diana Voit. “That’s what’s important.”

What stood out the most to those around Luke, however, was his unending well of energy. Every picture to be found of the boy captures a face with a vibrant smile, an athlete ready to give his all or a jovial child striking a pose that, no doubt, had those on the other side of the lens laughing.

“He was always the first kid out the door in the morning, looking for people to play with,” said Diana Voit.

It is that vibrant spirit that those who knew him are missing the most.

Newton said that while the days have gotten nicer as of late, her son has mentioned that the neighborhood just isn’t the same without Luke. The streets are quieter more of the time, and pickup games and spontaneous fun just seem to be rarer than before.

“I told him that’s because you and Luke were always the ones to lead the other kids,” Newton said. “Now that he’s gone, that’s something that you are going to have to do. That’s what he would want.”

email: julieh@beenews.com

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