News

Treat survives hepatitis scare

By ERICA HALL

Staff writer

Christian Faith Center pastor Casey Treat has made what appears to be a complete recovery after doctors diagnosed him last year with hepatitis C.

Doctors found the disease in Treat’s blood following a routine physical last year, said Debbie Willis, a spokeswoman for Treat, but the disease hadn’t had any affect on his liver. She said Treat and his doctors believe he contracted the disease as a teenager, when he was an intravenous drug user.

Morgan Llewellyn, project manager for the Christian Faith Center’s megachurch project in Federal Way, said Treat’s diagnosis and treatment won’t have any affect on the project.

Hepatitis C is a virus that can cause liver inflammation. The disease is usually transmitted through intravenous drug use, blood transfusions prior to blood screening for the disease, and sometimes through sexual activity, though some medical professionals have said it also could be transferred from inadvertent contact with an infected person’s blood — from sharing a razor blade, for example.

According to the national Centers for Disease Control, about 80 percent of those with the disease have no symptoms.

Seventy-five to 85 percent of those infected have chronic infection, and 70 percent have chronic liver disease. Between 1 and 5 percent die, and patients with hepatitis C lead the need for liver transplants, according to CDC statistics.

After Treat, now 49, quit using drugs and found faith in God, physical health became a big part of his life, Willis said. He hasn’t consumed drugs or alcohol since he was 19, she said. His doctors believe that’s why he doesn’t have any liver damage from the the hepatitis C.

Because his liver is in such good shape, Treat qualified for a UW study recommended to him by a doctor at the Christian Faith Center, Willis said.

Though he was diagnosed with the blood disease a year ago, it took a lot of research, discussion and prayer before Treat reached the decision to participate in the study, she said on his behalf. Willis said Treat wasn’t available for comment.

“It was quite a bit of time between finding out about it and seeking the course of treatment,” Willis said. “He thought, ‘If this thing has been hanging around in my body for more than 25 years, I need to take care of it.’”

As part of the UW study, Treat began taking double-doses of chemotherapy last December. A recent blood test indicated his body was free of the disease, Willis said, though Treat will continue his course of treatment through this coming December.

“He’s tired, but he’s making amazing progress,” Willis said. “It’s expected he’ll make a full recovery.”

Staff writer Erica Hall: 925-5565, ehall@fedwaymirror.com

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