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Former deputy struggles with disease

Apr 9, 2003
John Lemons
Record Staff Writer

After struggling with multiple sclerosis for years, former Fremont County Sheriff's Deputy Dean Richardson said he might have found a treatment that will help him with the debilitating disease.

"It won't cure it, but it will help," he said Thursday.

However, it will cost $75,000, because the treatment is out of state and his insurance won't cover it, 35-year-old Richardson said. He said his doctor has agreed to waive his fees, but the rest of the money is for the hospital stay and treatment.

Based on advice from friends, Richardson said he set up a donation fund at Sunflower Bank in Cañon City. The account is under Everett D. Richardson.

Richardson said he left the sheriff's office in late 2001 because of MS and has a lease for the U Pump It gas station and convenience store at Raynolds Avenue and U.S. 50. The lease helps him support his family, wife Vani and 7-year-old son, Corey, he said.

Richardson said he was diagnosed with MS in 1994 and quit the sheriff's office in 2000. He was rehired by Sheriff Dale Rea, but left again in late 2001.

The loss of his law-enforcement career, which he liked a great deal, was difficult, he said.

"I was robbed of everything because of the MS."

He recently heard about a new MS treatment called hematopoietic stem cell therapy from an intern at a local doctor's office where his wife works as a nurse. MS is believed to be caused by immune cells, which normally protect the body, but attach to the tissue in the brain and possibly the spinal cord, according to information he was sent by the Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago.

Tests on Richardson at the Chicago hospital in July indicate that the treatment has potential to work in his case, he said. High doses of cyclophosphamide destroy the cells in the immune system. Stem cell infusion will restore the immune system, which will no longer attack the body, he said.

The treatment will take five years, which will require hospitalization twice, plus numerous visits, Richardson said. Additional hospitalization may be required.

While the treatment will include chemotherapy and he will lose his hair and be sick to his stomach, it won't be as painful as the MS, he said.

"The painful part is the MS," Richardson said. "The pain is excruciating, and I deal with it all the time."

The treatment should relieve the pain, he said.

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