A parent's greatest fear is the thought of losing a child. One local family almost lived that nightmare at a time when everything seemed so perfect.
This family came close to losing their first child, after just having their second. Five years ago, the Downey's started their family. Taylor was three when Susan Downey gave birth to their second child. The family couldn't have been happier until Taylor became gravely ill and prayer was the only thing they could cling to.
The Downey's will never forget October 1995. Taylor was three. "At first you can't believe it's happening." What started out as a severe stomach virus turned into more. Doctors sent Taylor to Children's Hospital in Birmingham.
"The whole time we're driving to Children's we're thinking he's gonna die," say the Downeys. Soon doctors discovered Taylor had somehow become infected with e-coli bacteria. They told his parents 'there's no treatment and there's no cure, but we will support his organs while his body fights off this disease.'
The bacteria infected almost every organ in his body. Susan Downey recalls, "He could bleed to death. He could have a stroke. His blood pressure was haywire. His heart was infected. His brain was infected." And, Taylor's father Joey remembers, "He would get better and then he would get worse. Two steps forward and three steps back."
Doctors promised a rollercoaster ride. The very worse came when Taylor went into shock and they ordered surgery. He was right there on the edge of death. The Downeys look back, "Two members of our family called everybody we knew and started a prayer chain."
At that time, prayer was all they had. "Looking back now, that was the point where he went so low to the bottom. But, that was also the point where God was picking him up. We did pray very much that God would heal him and keep him alive."
But that' s not all they were praying. "You also just pray that if he did die, we would make it through." The Downys did make it through and so did Taylor. Six weeks later doctors sent Taylor home. Now, he's a healthy boy. His parents say they've seen the power of prayer. "Without prayer, you have no hope. That's what got us through."
Taylor Downey is full of energy - what you would call a normal nine-year-old boy. His parents are proud and thankful, in more ways than one. "We drew as close to God as we can possibly be on this earth. We've carried it with us. We will never forget."