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BOWLING FUNDRAISER AIDS CYSTIC FIBROSIS SISTER'S MEMORY SPURS GIRL TO HELP FIND A CURE.

Byline: Alex Dobuzinskis Staff Writer

MONTROSE - High school senior Mary Garcia was born a year after her sister died of cystic fibrosis at the age of 9, after a short life packed full of laughter and raising money to fight the disease.

But despite having never met her sister, Claire Domino, Mary is continuing her sister's legacy of fundraising.

On Thursday, Mary and her mother, Clarisa Garcia, raised more than $4,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in their fifth annual Bowl for Breath event. More than 150 students from Rosemont Middle School and Crescenta Valley and Clark Magnet high schools participated, each raising at least $25 for the cause.

Mary has seen videos of her sister. And she knows that even at such a young age Claire was raising money to help find a cure for cystic fibrosis.

``I look at that and I think if Claire can continue that, why not (let it) be through me,'' Mary said.

``She was a sweet girl, really. And I just feel indebted to her because she couldn't live as long as I have.''

Claire raised $400 from friends for cystic fibrosis research before her last trip to the hospital for treatment. Her mother said Claire was a funny and smart girl, who had perfect attendance in her last semester of school despite her condition.

``She was known for her laugh, she just had a very robust laugh,'' Garcia said.

The ``Bowl for Breath'' event in Montrose has raised more than $20,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation since it started.

``Their heart is in it and they are definitely committed to finding a cure,'' said Stephanie Kahle, director of special events for the La Habra chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, which benefits from the bowling event.

About 30,000 children and young adults in the United States have cystic fibrosis. Because of a defective gene, those with the disease suffer from an abnormally thick mucus that leads to chronic lung infections, lung damage and digestive problems.

There is no cure for the disease, which has claimed the lives of many children. Because of medical advances, the life expectancy of those with the disease keeps increasing and it now stands at 32, Kahle said.

Alex Dobuzinskis, (818) 546-3304

alex.dobuzinskis(at)dailynews.com

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2 photos

Photo:

(1 -- 2) Libby Denton, 12, of Glendale, above, sends a ball flying during Thursday's Bowl for Breath event at Montrose Bowl. Below, Clarisa, Gilbert and Mary Garcia raise money in memory of young Claire Domino, who died of cystic fibrosis.

Evan Yee/Staff Photographer
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Nov 11, 2005
Words:431
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