Colorado police officer donates part of liver and raises money to help pay medical bills for complete stranger


DENVER, Colorado (CNN) – It’s the season of goodwill and it doesn’t get much better than what a Colorado police officer did for a complete stranger.

There are few 12-year-olds who know as much about aviation as Clyde Hoffman.

“Yeah, it’s really beautiful. Just the curvature and everything,” said Clyde Hoffman.

But it’s not just his knowledge of planes that makes him special.

“Don’t shoot this. This is a nuclear bomb. Probably not activated, though,” said Hoffman.

It’s the fact that he’s standing here at all.

“I was very thin and I was basically kind of yellowish jaundice,” said Hoffman.

Clyde Hoffman was born with Alagille Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that affects the organs.

“His liver, uh, was probably functioning only at 10%,” said Clyde’s mother, Melissa Hoffman.

“How bad did things get?,” said Lucy Kafanov, CNN.

“He could barely keep 200, 250 calories down,” said Clyde’s father, Mark Hoffman.

In the summer of 2018, the illness nearly claimed his life.

He had to be put on a feeding tube and Colorado’s transplant waiting list.

Without a new liver, Clyde’s parents, Mark and Melissa, feared the worst.

“He would have died for sure,” said Melissa.

Wait times can often stretch into years, but a month later? A miracle.

A match from a living stranger.

“I can remember the day of the surgery. Looking across the campus over to where I knew that. That whoever this person was on a slab having their liver removed or a portion of it. I’d never met her and there was a connection. Somehow…” said Mark.

“I knew that there were kids out there that could use the help. I’m healthy and the means to be able to donate,” said Officer Becker.

That mystery donor? Broomfield, Colorado Police Officer, Carolyn Becker.

“We’re never off duty. Whether I’m wearing my uniform or not, if I see somebody in need, I’m going to help. And that was true in this case too. I saw an opportunity to help somebody,” said Officer Becker.

“You knew that you can save a life,” said Kafanov.

“Yeah,” said Officer Becker.

Doctors removed a portion of Officer Becker’s liver and transplanted it into Clyde.

His improvement? Almost immediate.

“My jaundice and I had yellow eyes went completely away and the first time I ate a meal. I ate all of it and that was amazing,” said Clyde Hoffman.

The story almost ended there until a special thank you note arrived in Officer Becker’s mailbox seven months later.

“Dear donor, thank you so much for my chance at a new life. I could never imagine this happening…” said Officer Becker.

After searching online, Becker learned the Hoffmans, who lived nearly two hours away in Colorado Springs, were saddled with huge medical bills.

“I knew there was more I could do to help,” said Officer Carolyn Becker, Broomfield Colorado Police Officer.

“And what did you decide to do?” said Kafanov.

“I decided to stand on the side of the road with a sign much like panhandling,” said Officer Becker.

Raising more than $10,000, one donation at a time.

“This is an EA-6B prowler,” said Clyde.

“Oh, this place is so cool,” said Officer Becker.

So when Clyde and Officer Becker finally met more than a year after the surgery, the Hoffmans had a lot to be thankful for.

“Hard to have words for all of it. I think that’s why like the first week, just tears would come because it’s a heartfelt decision,” said Melissa Hoffman, Clyde’s mother.

“And you can see, there’s just a lot of piping and tubing,” said Clyde.

“I want to tell people, ‘Yes, go donate, donate your organs.’ Right? But now, I can truly say go, go, donate,” said Officer Carolyn Becker, Broomfield Colorado Police Officer.

“You think she went above and beyond the call as a police officer and as a human?” said Lucy Kafanov, CNN.

“Yeah, I think so. I mean, donating an organ, that’s pretty big!” said Clyde Hoffman.

A big gift from a big-hearted stranger, now a friend for life.”

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