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Helping father deal with leukemia inspires 19-year-old
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Gloriana Dowswell, the 19-year-old daughter of officer Stephen Dowswell, takes a swab from Jay Clark of Manteca after he took a sample DNA from inside his mouth. Clark is a counselor at Crossroads Church in Manteca whose dad passed away 25 years ago from leukemia. - photo by GLENN KAHL

The 19-year-old daughter of a leukemia victim represented her father Wednesday at the second of two bone marrow registry drives in the Manteca City Council chamber.

Two drives have been held in an effort to find a match for the two city employees who have different forms of the disease and are in need of life-saving bone marrow – police officer Stephen Dowswell and vehicle maintenance worker Randy Karim.

Gloriana Dowswell said her dad had been taken to the St. Helena Hospital several days ago by her mother Linda after having a reaction to recent chemotherapy treatments.  The teen was at her second bone marrow drive registry Wednesday to help where she was needed.

The teen said she hopes to become a massage therapist, explaining that she has helped her father relax for years after he came home from his late night patrols on the Manteca streets serving as a veteran of 10 years with the Manteca Police Department.

Dowswell had become ill the end of June thinking he had the flu. Karim was stricken in the fall of this year.  Both families are praying for a match that could save the lives of the two hcity employees.

Gloriana said she has been working with her father, using therapeutic massage, during his illness to attempt to reduce the stiffness and depression.  The 19-year-old said she has worked on his feet, neck and back realizing she is making a difference.

“People say I am good.  That has inspired me to go on to school,” she said.

One citizen who came to the drive Wednesday was church counselor Jay Clark who said he had a reason for trying to help Dowswell’s dad and the other leukemia patient, Randy Karim.  He said his own father had died of leukemia 25 years ago.

Liz Ustick of the BloodSource hosting group said that a number of people had come to the Wednesday marrow search event saying they had seen it in the Manteca Bulletin.  One woman told Ustick that her dad in Walnut Creek had just been diagnosed with leukemia and she wanted to be matched.  Another was a retired teacher in Escalon who took part in the event in an effort to make a difference.

Ustick noted that only 30 percent of the matches are found among family members and it is important that the communities respond.

Today a registry is being held at St. Helena Fire Department.  On Friday another registry is planned at the Doctors Medical Center in Modesto from 7:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. in Conference Room 3.