In January, retired York City Police detective Scott Rohrbaugh was optimistic about his future.
Unlike thousands of people suffering from myelodysplastic syndrome, a compatible bone-marrow donor had been found for him. He felt he could beat the potentially fatal stem-cell disease that used to be called pre-leukemia.
In March, Rohrbaugh received a cord-blood transplant, according to his wife, Deborah Veld Rohrbaugh.
"It was actually starting to work," she said of the transplant. "The cord blood took hold and his new cells were starting to grow."
But pre-transplant treatment -- including chemotherapy, radiation, dialysis and medications -- had already taken its toll on the retired detective.
"It just wreaked havoc on his body," Deborah Rohrbaugh said.
'Letting go': The doctors told the Rohrbaughs they didn't think they could save Scott, she said.
"Scott just said, 'I'm done.' That was last Wednesday," Deborah Rohrbaugh said. "The doctor asked, 'Are you giving up?' and Scott said, 'No. I'm letting go. There's a big difference.'"
Scott Rohrbaugh, 57, of Lakeland, Fla., died peacefully at 10:04 p.m. Saturday at home, surrounded by his family.
"His two (adult) daughters and I were with him the whole time, and we were with him when he passed," Deborah Rohrbaugh said. "He said, 'I just don't want to suffer,' and there was not a single bit of pain the whole time.
Scott Rohrbaugh spoke with The York Dispatch in January, when York City's White Rose Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police held a bone-marrow donor drive in his honor.
He was undergoing regular blood transfusions at the time that prolonged his life but couldn't heal him. He coped with daily pain and fatigue, he said.
Donor registry: Rohrbaugh urged people to consider signing up to be donors.
"Most people don't realize how simple it is, and how we can save so many lives," he said at the time.
The majority of people in the registry will never be called upon, and if they are, they can change their minds, according to the National Marrow Donor Program. New parents can donate their baby's umbilical cord blood to the registry as well.
Each year, more than 10,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with life-threatening conditions for which marrow donation is the best, or only, hope, according to the program; about 70 percent of them won't find a match from family members.
Fought for kids: During his 25-year career with York City Police, Rohrbaugh rose to the rank of detective first class. He specialized in investigating child abuse, sex crimes and cases involving domestic violence.
York City Detective Bill Follmer said he and Rohrbaugh were hired by York City Police about the same time and promoted to the detective bureau about the same time.
"He was a good guy, always willing to help," Follmer said. "He was a very good investigator, very thorough. ... He took his job very seriously, and he was one of the first (detectives) I can think of to actually specialize in child abuse and child sex cases."
Local services: Memorial services will be held in York on May 29 at Living Word Community Church, his widow said, with visitation starting at 6 p.m. and a service at 7 p.m.
-- Reach Elizabeth Evans at email@example.com, 505-5429 or twitter.com/ydcrimetime.