Reunion, Fla. — Two months ago, Dakoda Dowd thought the end was here.
Her mother was bedridden for weeks, unable to move, unable to take care of herself. Kelly Jo Dowd's hair was gone, her spirit was waning, and Dakoda feared the worst, that cancer was finally going to take her mother.
"Yes, cancer is winning," Dakoda said. "But my mom is still fighting."
A year ago, the Dowd family was the feel-good story of the Ginn Open. Dakoda, then 13, got in on a sponsor's exemption and wound up flirting with the cut, while her mother - who'd been told that she might only have a couple months to live - got what she called her final wish, seeing her girl play with the LPGA's best.
It has been a difficult 12 months, but 42-year-old Kelly Jo Dowd is still here. She has gotten some of her energy back and, after months on an experimental oral chemotherapy drug, is now taking only steroids and pain medication.
"I'm fighting for my life and my family," she said Saturday from the family's home in Palm Harbor.
Dakoda was back at the Ginn Open on Saturday, this time as a fan.
A year after shooting rounds of 74 and 82 at Reunion, Dakoda arrived with her father, Mike Dowd, and a young friend, invited back by tournament officials to take another look at the LPGA world.
"It's pretty weird," Dakoda said. "I can't believe it's been a year."