‘Very humbling’: Public raises $160K for detective’s life-saving treatment

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SEATTLE - A longtime Seattle police detective will receive care for a rare neurological disorder after the public raised $160,000 to cover the cost of an experimental stem cell transplant that could cure him.

Dave Clement, a 26-year veteran of the Seattle Police Department, said Thursday he is humbled and thankful for the hundreds of donations made through a GoFundMe page set up on his behalf.

“My wife and I are just blown away by the whole thing, the way people just stepped up,” Clement said in an interview on Q13 News This Morning. “And people’s children that have been involved, emptying their piggy banks – literally – to donate. It just hits you in the heart.”

Clement has been battling chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP) for roughly 13 years. The disorder leads to chronic pain, progressive weakness, and can eventually end in paralysis and death if left untreated.

While Clement had been accepted into a promising trial treatment study in Chicago, the City of Seattle and the company that handles health polices for city employees, Aetna, repeatedly declined to cover the cost.

On Wednesday evening during a taping of “Civic Cocktail” on the Seattle Channel, Mayor Ed Murray told Q13 News that the city does not cover experimental treatments and the cost to cover such things would have to come from elsewhere.

“I still think there could have been some way to work it out,” Clement said. “I don’t know how. I don’t have any animosity toward the people that were involved in making that decision with human resources. Obviously, it’s worked out well for us.”

Clement said the money raised on GoFundMe will allow him to travel to Chicago and begin the treatment in April.

“My concern is that I’ve become aware through this process of other people who need the treatment,” he said.

Ron Smith, president of the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild, said he will work with the city and Aetna to ensure such treatments are covered in future union contracts.

Smith, who encouraged his members to donate $100 apiece to help with Clement’s care, said he was touched by the outpouring of support.

“I’m very grateful to the department at large that stepped up when this case came to the public light,” Smith said. “To see the public step up and to look at all the comments and donations small and large, it really shows that the public does support law enforcement.”

Clement said he plans to personally thank each and every person who made a donation.