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“It would be the biggest weight ever lifted off me. Whatever energy that I waste worrying about this right now I can put into my life and helping other people.”
Those were Jake Dowell’s words to ESPN’s Chris Connelly during an E:60 piece last December when asked what it would be like if he tested negative for Huntington’s disease, a fatal genetic disorder that affects a person's physical and mental abilities.
Weeks after getting tested, Dowell, 30, finally got his answer on Saturday.
In a statement on his Facebook page, Dowell announced he tested negative for the disease.
“After far too many years of wondering my fate, I finally got the courage to get tested for Huntington’s disease a few weeks ago. It was by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I can’t explain the relief and happiness my family and I have to be able to say that yesterday I found out that I do not have HD.
“I can’t thank all of you enough for your support for me, my family and all the other families fighting this horrible disease. Your willingness to show up to any fundraiser, make generous donations to help find a cure, and your kind words have not ever been overlooked, and never will be. I promise to keep my focus on helping to find a cure and won’t quit until we have it. I owe that to the HD community and most of all, I owe that to you, Dad and Luke.”
Dowell, who currently plays for the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs and was a Black Ace during the Chicago Blackhawks’ 2010 Stanley Cup run, lost his father, John, to Huntington’s disease in Feb. 2014 at age 58. His older brother, Luke, is currently battling HD, which has no known cure. There was a 50-percent chance he would have tested positive.
“For me, it’s been such a sense of peace and calm that I haven’t felt since John was diagnosed,” Dowell’s mom, Vicki, told the Leader-Telegram. “I’m looking forward to Christmas. It’ll be nothing less than perfect.”
Here’s the great E:60 piece in its entirety.
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