LMPD :: Louisville Metro Police Department

Police officer hopes stranger will donate marrow to save his life


Police officers are trained to deal with life-threatening situations. Now that training is being put to the test for one Louisville police officer.

Sgt. Scott Gootee is hoping that complete stranger will step in and help save his life.

"It was a week long of low-grade fevers, you know, just not getting any better," said Gootee, who needs a bone marrow transplant.

During the summer of 2012, Gootee and his wife Lauren were enjoying life with their children.

Gootee was a man in his 40s who liked to work out and stayed busy with work as a sergeant in the LMPD Professional Standards Unit.

Life was great, until his fever turned out to be cancer.

"It turned it upside down. To be faced with your mortality, it kind of changes your perspective on everything," said Gootee.

Gootee was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, or AML, a type of blood cancer that starts in the bone marrow.

"It was a relatively favorable type of leukemia at the time. I had a favorable prognosis so we chose to do chemo only," said Gootee.

Chemo seemed to work for a while, but just before Christmas 2014, it was back.

Gootee said he had no idea he had relapsed and found out through routine bloodwork.

Phil Meeks knows exactly what Gootee and his familly are going through.

He had the same cancer and was given 30 days to live, but was able to find a bone marrow match.

"It saved my life. I mean, there's no other way to put it. I mean, somebody you know did a selfless act and signed up and donated, and it was somebody I didn't even know," said Meeks.

Meeks has been cancer free for two years. That gives the Gootees hope, because the only way to save Scott Gootee's life is through a bone marrow transplant.

They haven't been able to find a match within their family.

Officials say there's only a 30 percent chance that a family member will match.

The Gootees are now turning to the organization Be the Match for help.

"Every year (there are) 12,000 patients just like Scott that are searching the donor registry," said Dannie Moore, with Be the Match.

"Scott has dedicated his life as a police officer and he has given to help others and he needs us to come out and help him," said Meeks.

"It's the grandest gesture you can ever make, to save someone's life," said Gootee.

A bone marrow registry drive will be held from 1-6 p.m. Saturday at the FOP Lodge at 6204 Price Lane in Louisville. Be The Match says it takes only a cheek swab to join.