Thursday, December 5, 2013
SCARBOROUGH — Eugina Lowell knew she was going to die.
About a year ago, doctors told her that her cancer had metastasized to her liver and lungs. When she left the office, she collapsed in the hallway, said Mike Avery, her partner for the past seven years.
''It crushed her, but she was over-the-top strong,'' Avery said.
Ms. Lowell, who died Monday at age 44, spent the past year fighting for her life. She got various treatments and attempted clinical trials at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.
Avery said she found strength in her family, especially her 6-year-old daughter, Gianna Avery, who will start first grade next week.
''Gina didn't want to give up,'' Avery said. ''We have been looking for a cure searching for hope, but the prognosis was confirmed everywhere we went.
She didn't have a chance to live her life, because of the way she battled this. She wanted an answer and I supported her.''
Ms. Lowell lost her own mother when she was 6. Avery said Ms. Lowell was a great mother who reveled in the little things and appreciated the time she shared with her daughter.
''She enjoyed tubby time drying (Gianna) off in a big towel and picking up the 5,000 toys in the bathtub. Gina liked reading to her in bed at night,'' Avery said. ''I'm grateful that our daughter had those years with Gina. She has that foundation. I have to believe we will be OK.''
Ms. Lowell was the office manager for Thomas Benenti, who runs a dental practice in Kennebunk. Benenti said she was a dedicated employee who had great relationships with the patients and staff.
He visited Ms. Lowell a few days before she died. Benenti said she asked how things were going at the office.
''It's very difficult to lose a person like Gina,'' Benenti said. ''She brought joy, humor and optimism to this office, and now that is gone. We will miss her.''
Ida Marcoccio, who worked with Ms. Lowell for the past 10 years, said she knew most of the patients' names and considered many to be her friends. ''So many patients asked how she was doing,'' Marcoccio said. ''She will be sadly missed, but she will not be forgotten.''
Ms. Lowell was described by her family and friends as a happy, outgoing person who had a magnetic personality.
She made an impression on many people who crossed her path, including Avery, whom she met seven years ago at a garage where she brought her car to be serviced. He said they were a natural fit for each other.
''Our relationship didn't take a lot of effort. We knew we were in the right place,'' Avery said. ''I admired her strength, confidence and selflessness. She left this earth having given far more than she ever took.''
Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at: