Tricia B. Bowley

Age 37 : Activist helped raise awareness about cystic fibrosis after being diagnosed with the disease at birth.

July 07, 2008|By Steven Stanek | Steven Stanek,Sun Reporter

Tricia Brooke Bowley, an activist who raised awareness about cystic fibrosis, died Friday of the disease and the long-term effects of a double lung transplant at Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care.

The Towson resident was 37.

Mrs. Bowley, who was born in Colorado, was diagnosed at birth with the disease, which causes chronic, life-threatening lung infections and also affects the digestive system.

She spent her childhood in Hawaii and San Antonio before moving to New Jersey to live with her father, Robert F. Bowley Jr., who was a lieutenant in the Navy.

In 1999, she moved to Bethesda to work as a Web site development manager for as startup company called rDental.com. She went on to become a project manager at Columbia Medcom Group in Columbia in 2000. During that time, the effects of the disease worsened, and Mrs. Bowley started on supplemental oxygen because of extensive scarring to her lungs.

In 2002, doctors determined that Mrs. Bowley needed to undergo a double lung transplant to extend her life, and she moved to Durham, N.C., for the operation. A year later, doctors at Duke University successfully performed the surgery.

After the operation, Mrs. Bowley was taken off supplemental oxygen, and she moved back to Baltimore County. She was healthy enough that she ran a 5-kilometer race in October 2003.

"I was very proud of her," said her husband, Jeff Carlson, whom she married in 2004. "She was very interested in being an example to the people around her who had a tendency to sort of give up or become sedentary because of the amount of pain they were in."

In 2004, she became an events coordinator with Maryland chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in Cockeysville. Mrs. Bowley assisted in fundraising events, including an annual cystic fibrosis country music concert at 1st Mariner Arena. Her image also became one of the "Faces of the Cystic Fibrosis" displayed on the foundation's Web site.

In June, she was awarded a Governor's Citation for her fundraising efforts. She also won a bronze medal in women's golf at the 2006 Transplant Games in Louisville, Ky.

In 2007, the function of her transplanted lungs began to deteriorate, and she was placed back on supplemental oxygen. In May 2008, Mrs. Bowley was denied a spot on a waiting list for another lung transplant because doctors felt that the chances of success were slim.

She had been receiving home hospice care before she was moved to the Gilchrist Center on Wednesday.

A private memorial service is being planned.

In addition to her father and her husband, Mrs. Bowley is survived by her mother, Linda Waiting Prior; her brother, Robert F. Bowley III; and two stepchildren, Caela and Christopher Carlson.

steven.stanek@baltsun.com

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