Former Miss NH loses battle with cancer at age 47
AUBURN — Former Miss New Hampshire 1992 Rachel Petz Dowd lost her battle with a rare form of breast cancer on Sunday — a battle she fought publicly through personal writings in a blog in hopes of helping others on a similar journey toward healing.
The singer/songwriter and mother of three from Auburn died about a month after traveling to Mexico for an aggressive form of alternative cancer treatment. She turned 47 last week.
Dowd was diagnosed with stage 2 triple negative breast cancer in May 2014. The diagnosis led her to create a blog called “Rachel’s Healing” to document what she hoped would be a journey back to health.
“I hope my readers can gain something from my journey and that they find their own personal way to combat this disease impacting too many women today,” she wrote.
Dowd used the blog to share her experiences with traditional and natural medicine during her cancer fight.
Despite the struggles she faced over the past two years, Dowd kept a positive outlook and used her blog to show her appreciation for the support she received.
“My heart is overflowing with such amazing support from friends and family in my time of need. God and the universal power has been here for every need. I cannot believe the grace and love of this experience. I love you all and even those who I don’t know as well who have stepped up and surprised me with the humanity of spirit,” she wrote in a post last month.
Don Anderson, former executive director of the Miss New Hampshire Scholarship Program, recalled meeting Dowd for the first time when she competed for the state title in 1991. It was her third attempt to win the crown, he said.
“She was as beautiful on the inside as she was on the outside. She will be missed by all of us who were fortunate enough to share her eloquent voice, her charm and gift of life on stage, as well as off,” Anderson said.
After winning in 1992, Dowd spent the next year as an ambassador for the state of New Hampshire and performed at the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City.
“Her devotion to the scholarship program as a contestant, and in later post-pageant years financially, as well as from her willingness to share her extraordinary singing talent through all the years, has been immeasurable. Audiences truly enjoyed Pageant Week seeing and hearing Rachel perform in choreographed numbers with Lloyd Owens and other former Miss New Hampshire title holders,” Anderson said.
“Rachel’s bravery in the face of her cancer diagnosis is legend among the thousands who have followed her blogs on cancer research programs in which she has been treated,” he said.
Mindy Bedard of Auburn got to know Dowd when she started a Daisy Troop about five years ago. Dowd and other mothers became known as the “Daisy Moms.”
“It was something that was near and dear to her heart,” she said.
Dowd was dedicated to the Auburn community and tried to remain upbeat during her struggle.
“Through everything she was just amazing. She was so calm and so positive and always very easy-going,” Bedard said.