Former Detroit Lions great Gail Cogdill turns to crowdfunding for stem cell heart treatment

A screengrab of Gail Cogdill's crowdfunding page from GoFundMe.com

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The 75-year-old who won the 1960 NFL Rookie of the Year for the Lions and became one of the top wide receivers in the franchise's history is raising money online to help pay for an experimental stem cell treatment in the Bahamas, reports Mashable.

His wife Dian has created a page on the crowdfunding site, GoFundMe.com to raise $35,000 for the procedure. She writes as a result of the bumps and bruises and his genetics, Cogdill's heart only operates at 18 percent of its capacity and he's been battling heart failure, but besides his age limitations for transplants, they feel an artificial heart is not a viable option because it would only last for a select number of years and may hinder his quality of life.

The Detroit Free Press reports Codgill had a six-way bypass surgery 10 years ago after a virus attacked his heart. He already has a defibrillator and pacemaker in his chest, and had three stents put in during the spring, according to the paper.

Then the Codgill's heard about procedures in which stem cells are taken from his blood and put back in his heart to strengthen it - a procedure not covered by insurance.

"Gail has a family to live for still, things he has yet to experience, and moments in life that we need him for," Dian writes in her appeal.

Recent research on procedures that harvest stem cells from patients, purify them and allow them to grow, before rein fusing them into the heart have showed promise in patients with heart failure.

Last November, a study of 16 heart failure patients found up to a 38 percent improvement in heart function among patients, with eight patients showing more dramatic improvement. One man even went from not being able to walk 30 feet to playing basketball with his granddaughter and running thirty minutes on his treadmill three days a week, according to the lead researcher.

Mashable reports Cogdill has drained his savings by about $500,000 for his heart problems and knee, ankle, hip and shoulder surgeries as a result of his playing days and that's why he's turning to the Web for financial help.

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Former Detroit Lions great Gail Cogdill turns to crowdfunding for stem cell heart treatment

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