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'He thought big' | SA boy's drive to fight hunger continues in his memory

"He had so many missions; So many things he wanted to do (and) ways he wanted to make the world better," his mom says.

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Even in death, one of San Antonio’s greatest angels continues to give back.

Rowan Windham got the idea to help feed children when he saw a cereal drive at Methodist Children's Hospital.

Windham was always a child of purpose. And one whose presence is still felt today, thanks to his giant heart. “With every breath I take, I miss him. And it's very hard to continue to live without Rowan."

The days aren't always easy for Carrie Windham since her baby boy died nearly three years ago. “He had Shwachman Diamond Syndrome. It affected his blood, his pancreas and his bone marrow. So it made him very susceptible to illness."

His condition made going to school impossible. He had a strict diet which barred eating most regular food. He couldn't even have ice cream.

“He loved his life,” Carrie said. “He loved every single day of his life. He's famous for saying it even in the worst of times."

Medical turmoil was his norm. In fact, he spent most of his days in the hospital. ”I know he had 99 surgeries,” Carrie said. “I know that. And it was like 1,800 days plus in the hospital including the last six months straight of his life."

But none of that ever stopped the desire of charity from flowing through his veins. Where there was a cause, Rowan found a way.

"He had so many missions; So many things he wanted to do,” said Carrie. “Ways he wanted to make the world better. And I think that by me continuing those is the way that i keep him in this world and the way that other people do too."

One of his major efforts came as he walked through the hospital after major abdominal surgery. It was a cereal drive to feed children who might not eat. “He said mom i don't want any more visitors to bring me toys. I want them to bring me toys for the food bank."

The irony: Rowan was never able to eat the cereal he sought to provide.

His effort grew in popularity. In fact, Children's Methodist Hospital named the cereal drive after him. "When they renamed it after him they went to over 130,000 servings. Last year was over 200,000 servings. And this year i think it's going to blow that out of the water."

Rowan lived only 10 years before he died. Yet, his legacy is still being reported across the globe, from Japan to Germany. It's all because he grasped the concept of doing big things in a way we could all learn.

“And he said even if you're helping one person, you're helping the world and it's already big,” said Carrie. “And I think about that. He was right. He thought big, but even in the smallest of things he knew how big they were. And to me, for him to see how truly big this has gotten would just blow his mind."

It's an answer from the little boy who opened his arms and heart to the world.