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Officer Diagnosed with Deadly Cancer is Doing Well

Officer Diagnosed with Deadly Cancer is Doing Well

Posted - Feb. 11, 2004 at 10:07 p.m.



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Shelley Osterloh reporting Last May, we told you the story of Jade Pusey... a popular law enforcement officer diagnosed with an aggressive from of cancer.

Hundreds of people were there for him, to help pay for an experimental therapy.

Less than a year after he was diagnosed with a deadly soft tissue cancer, Jade Pusey is doing well.

And tonight, he's grateful for every moment of his life, and for all of those friends, and even strangers, who came to help him.

Jade Pusey is thrilled to be going back to work at his Salt Lake County Sheriff's Department office.

It's his first week back after the most challenging year of his life.

Jade Pusey/ Cancer Survivor: "It's been interesting to go back to work and try to mesh what I'm used to doing on a daily basis with a new attitude."

One year ago, on the day he announced a major bust against a violent organized identity theft ring, he had rescheduled a ctscan to find out why he was having severe abdominal pain.

Doctors found the 30 year old father had an aggressive but rare form of sarcoma. They surgically removed many small tumors and gave him chemotherapy, but the outlook was still grim.

Jade Pusey/May 21, 2003: "If they are fast growing and we don't catch any breaks, it'll be a year, and that'll be the end of it."

Then doctors decided that a stem cell transplant --- effective in other forms of cancer --- just might work for Pusey.

Problem was: it cost $250,000 and insurance wouldn't pay.

Friends family and co workers held many fundraisers.

For example, The state Attorney General's office auctioned items like fake money forged by Mark Hoffman.

By June, they had raised the necessary funds.

Jade Pusey/ June 17, 2003: "We can't measure what they've done for us. I'll spend the rest of my life trying to thank this community."

Jade's brother was a perfect match for the transplant. The idea was to graft his brother's cell immunity to Jade's and hopefully it would be able to recognize the cancer and kill it.

After months of monitoring, the outlook is promising.

Jade: "My immune system is now 100 percent my brother's, which is a good thing."

There are no signs of cancer now, but Jade and his wife Tanya know too well that things can change fast. For now they are cautiously optimistic, grateful for the outpouring of support from the community.

Tanya Pusey/ Jade's Wife: "I don't think we ever could have guessed how good friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, strangers, how nice and kind people are."

Jade Pusey: "Immense gratitude for the goodness and kindness of others."

And most of all they are grateful for the little things --- especially time with two-year old Garret.

Jade Pusey: "The thought of taking Garret to kindergarten, of taking him camping, fishing, four-wheeling, teaching him to read... all of a sudden they are more sweet than before."

Pusey says as a law officer, you learn that life can change or be lost in seconds. But his battle with cancer has taught them about priorities, about focusing on what's really important.

Tanya Pusey: "I think that's probably one of the biggest things I've learned is that hope is priceless. You just can't realize the impact that hope gives on other people."

Jade Pusey: "We need to take a little more time to enjoy literature, to enjoy time with family and friends. We just aren't doing it. Tanya and I have been very guilty of that. We are trying to change that."

He is not out of the woods... there are all sorts of possible complications and challenges ahead. But the doctors tell him things have gone better than expected.

And Jade Pusey is busy giving back to the community that gave so much to him --- he is cracking down on criminals.

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