A Seattle police officer was battling a debilitating disease and had city insurance that wouldn’t cover lifesaving treatment, but thanks to the generosity of Seattle civilians and employees, he is now in remission after a GoFundMe account raised more than $180,000.
About the SPD vet's insurance fight for lifesaving transplant
KIRO 7 News' Gary Horcher told Dave Clement's story earlier this year.
In his 26-year career as a Seattle police officer and volunteer, Dave Clement has been decorated for his abilities as a crime-solver and a leader. His reputation among his co-workers is that of a humble person who helps people. He was once named Precinct Officer of the Year. He also spent months of vacation time building homes in the poorest areas of Honduras.
But the 56-year-old detective and recent grandfather lived with hand tremors and constant pain.
Doctors diagnosed Clement with Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy, or CIDP, which affects only 1 or 2 in every 100,000 people. It caused his immune system to attack and destroy his own nerve cells, and doctors said it could have left him paralyzed.
"I have a certain faith," said Clement. "I believe that God is good, and this is all going to work out."
Clement and his wife, Pam, said they felt things working out when a world-renowned specialist at Northwestern University Medicine in Chicago identified Dave as a perfect candidate for stem cell transplantation which, according to Northwestern, has cured nearly 80 percent of the CIDP patients who've been treated.
"You're talking well over 300 people who've done it, and the success rate is just amazing," Clement said. "The doctor said this would be a perfect time for me to have this done, and he wanted to start the process last June."
The stem cell transplantation involves removing and growing Clement's own stem cells. Doctors would shut down his body with chemotherapy and then re-introduce his stem cells to reboot his immune system. The price tag for the promising procedure, which would take about 60 days, is $125,000.
Clement's insurance covered much of the treatment, but it did not pay for travel and lodging while in Chicago.
A huge outpouring of support
Seattle Police Guild President Ron Smith told KIRO 7 he brought Clement's story to every city worker and council member who would listen.
"The city of Seattle needs to do the right thing here," he said. "We're talking $125,000, not millions. I would think we have money to help save a veteran police detective's life."
Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole agreed.
Within a few days after Clement shared his story with KIRO 7 News, enough money had been donated to the fund to fully pay for the detective's needs. Delta Airlines stepped in to help and covered the 12 round-trip flights to Chicago.
The remission message
On December 2, the family posted this message to their GoFundMe page.
IT WORKED!!! Thanks to you. For prayers, good thoughts and caring.
We left the neurologist's office just awhile ago. He told us that the stem cell transplant did the job. I am in remission.
Together we kicked CIDP's butt! Thank you, thank you.
I still have nerves that need to regenerate and exercise to do. But I am well.
God has been so good to us! What a great gift for this holiday season.
Dave and Pam
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