Iowa Wild captain Dowell loses father to Huntington's disease

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 21, 2014 - 1:00 AM
hide

Jake Dowell and his wife Carly (left) with his mother, Vicki, father John and brother Luke Dowell. Photos are courtesy of the Dowell family.

Photo: Provided by Dowell family, DML -

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Jake Dowell feels the loss, but he’s just glad his father is no longer suffering.

“Nobody should have to go through what he did,” the Iowa Wild captain said Wednesday, two days after the funeral for his 58-year-old father, John Dowell, who lost his excruciating battle with Huntington’s disease last week.

“This was almost a 13-year struggle that he was dealing with,” Jake Dowell said. “The last couple months were really hard to watch him deteriorate. In the end now, it’s nice to have some closure and know he’s not struggling anymore.”

Huntington’s disease is a neurological disorder that often for the course of a decade or more debilitates a person physically and cognitively until they die. Jake’s brother, Luke, 31, also has the disease and resides in the same 24-hour assisted-living house in Menomonie, Wis., that their father died in Feb. 13.

Jake Dowell was able to spend the final hours at his father’s side because of the American Hockey League All-Star break.

There is a 50-50 chance that Dowell, 28, a forward who has played 156 NHL games and was recalled by the Wild on Wednesday, has inherited the same gene. In the next year or two, Dowell plans to go with his wife, Carly, and mother, Vicki, to have a blood test and learn what his future holds.

“I don’t want to do something like that in the middle of season because it’s just too must pressure,” Dowell said. “It would be great to just know that I don’t have it. It’ll be something to look into more or less when my wife and I decide it’s time to have kids.”

The couple needs to know if Dowell has the gene because if he does, there’s a 50-50 chance their children would inherit it. If he has the gene, they can do in vitro fertilization and “literally take the gene out … and it’ll be out of my family for good,” Dowell said.

The disease is progressing with Jake’s brother.

“He’s still walking, but I don’t think for much longer because he’s just getting too clumsy, and he needs someone to help him [with everything],” Dowell said.

Over the past year John Dowell, a former college football player, got dementia, grew more and more frail, couldn’t take care of himself and had to live off a feeding tube.

“He was having such a hard time breathing in the end. It was hard on him,” Jake Dowell said. “He was a big deal to me. Everybody says that their dad’s their role model. He was there teaching me everything my first 15, 16 years, but the second half of my life he hasn’t been able to be around.

“But he taught me more by the way he handled this awful disease all those years he wasn’t able to be around than in the first half of my life. He was so strong.”

So is his mother.

“It’s just been endless nonstop people coming by and showing support,” Dowell said. “Her body’s kicking into autopilot. There’s a little bit of adrenaline that goes through you to get you by it. I think now that things are over and she’s by herself at home, things will sink in.

“But she’s had a lot to deal with for many years. She’ll be all right.”

Zucker still out

Winger Jason Zucker will miss next week’s road trip to Edmonton and Vancouver.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Los Angeles - WP: C. Kershaw 14 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: E. Jackson 5
Boston - A. Webster 6:05 PM
Baltimore - K. Gausman
Milwaukee - Y. Gallardo 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - J. Locke
Toronto - M. Buehrle 6:05 PM
NY Yankees - H. Kuroda
Washington - D. Fister 6:10 PM
Miami - T. Koehler
Chicago WSox - J. Quintana 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Hellickson
NY Mets - Z. Wheeler 6:35 PM
Atlanta - J. Teheran
Cleveland - T. Bauer 7:10 PM
Minnesota - P. Hughes
Detroit - J. Verlander 7:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Vargas
Seattle - T. Walker 7:10 PM
Houston - B. Peacock
Arizona - C. Anderson 7:10 PM
Colorado - J. Lyles
Cincinnati - D. Holmberg 7:15 PM
St. Louis - J. Lackey
Philadelphia - D. Buchanan 8:35 PM
Oakland - J. Lester
Texas - L. Bonilla 9:05 PM
LA Angels - H. Santiago
San Francisco - T. Hudson 9:10 PM
San Diego - O. Despaigne
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
(5) Auburn 20 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 14
Connecticut 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:00 AM
NC State
Duke 9/27/14 2:00 AM
Miami-Florida
North Carolina 9/27/14 2:00 AM
(22) Clemson
Colorado 9:00 PM
Real Salt Lake
Toronto 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close