Man who beat illness as a child is shot to death

Landis F. Adams was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia in 1973 on Halloween.

It was a severe form of the disease, and his mother, Alreda Adams, recalled Thursday that she did not expect her 3-year-old son to live more than a few years.

Adams said that only made her more determined that her son enjoy trick or treating that evening. She dressed him up as a cowboy and took him around their neighborhood. At each house, the neighbors gave the boy candy, but Adams quietly asked them to pray for her son to be healed.

Adams never stopped praying for her son, and he survived leukemia for decades.

But on Tuesday, Landis Adams, 41, was shot and killed during what police described as a domestic dispute. The shooting occurred at a residence in the 600 block of South Crisp Avenue. Police released few details on what led to the shooting. However, one man was taken into custody as a person of interest. He was later released pending further investigation.

Adams said she last spoke with her son earlier Tuesday. It was part of her son’s routine to end each of their conversations by telling Adams, “I love you.” Adams said she would always cherish that habit.

“I thought that was unusual for a guy to always tell his mom that he loved her,” she said. “Now there is a big void in our lives.”

Landis Adams attended Blue Springs North High School and was a lifelong Independence resident.

Adams said her son had been laid off recently, but had previously worked installing sheet rock and concrete. Two years ago, he moved to Colorado and worked as a ranch hand.

Adams said she and her son shared a special bond because of the leukemia diagnosis.

One day, Adams said she and her mother noticed that Landis Adams had bruises on his legs, a persistent runny nose and pale skin. Adams took him to the Independence Sanitarium and Hospital, where he underwent tests. He was then transferred to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City.

As a recently divorced mother, Adams said she had limited resources but relied on her faith in God and received help from her Beta Sigma Phi sorority sisters. The Greater Kansas City chapter of the Leukemia Society of America also helped, she said.

Landis Adams would soon serve as the group’s national poster child from 1975 through 1977. He participated in local telethons and helped the group raise thousands of dollars for its outreach and research efforts.

“Even though it is difficult to lose a child, I know I will see him one day in heaven,” Adams said. “Landis didn’t have a lot when he died … he gave a lot to us all.”