“When people are praying for you, it makes you that much stronger”

Math teacher on the road to recovery


Math teacher and softball coach Dee Dowler has a message for the Ben Davis staff and student body: “The kids and the school have been wonderful. It is unbelievable the amount of support I am getting.”

Dowler is slowly recovering from surgery he had on September 11 for a rare form of cancer known as phymoma. He had his first surgery in 2002, and the cancer went into remission. He found out in late August that the cancer had returned.

“When I was first diagnosed I went into surgery almost immediately,” Dowler said. “Back then, there was no time to prepare for anything or to warn people. This time I found out and had some time to prepare myself and my family mentally.”

That mental preparation is what is now pulling Dowler through.

“My spirit is great and that is mainly because of the support I feel from the school, my church, my family and my friends,” said Dowler, who was a standout football and baseball player while a student at Ben Davis in the 1980s. “I could not ask for a better support system.”

Dowler’s recovery is going as planned. He hopes to start radiation during fall break and if that goes well he could be back in school before December.

“I can’t do much right now,” Dowler said. “This is the type of cancer that has to heal from the inside out. I’m on a lot of pain medication right now and that slows me down.”

Dowler keeps busy with his 17-month-old son Jacoby. He also is working on his principal’s program.

“That is something I can do while sitting,” Dowler said.

He also enjoys visits from his daughter Hunter, a BD grad who is currently attending Indiana University.

“My wife tries to keep Jacoby busy, but he’s a toddler who is teething and into everything,” Dowler said. “He keeps us all busy.”

Around school there are plenty of signs of support. The lifeskills students sold coffee and breakfast snacks with the proceeds going to Dowler and business teacher Lisa Bugay is selling B (Be) D (Dowler) Strong t-shirts to show her support for the popular BD graduate.

“I can’t tell you how much all that means to me,” Dowler said. “When you know people are praying for you, it just makes you that much stronger.”

Bugay also is selling D Dowler wristbands, which also are available in the Spirit Shop.

Studies show that two out of every three people in America know someone who is or has been diagnosed with cancer. Dowler’s diagnosis has shed a much needed light on the wide spectrum of cancers and all of those who can be plagued by it.