Keremeos resident Darryl Brewer said after receiving stem cell therapy in the United States for his chronic back pain, he can lead an active pain-free lifestyle again. (Robin Grant - Review Staff)

Keremeos resident Darryl Brewer said after receiving stem cell therapy in the United States for his chronic back pain, he can lead an active pain-free lifestyle again. (Robin Grant - Review Staff)

Keremeos man says stem cell therapy changed his life

Darryl Brewer says he went from being immobile with chronic pain to leading an active lifestyle

Darryl Brewer still can’t believe what happened to him.

Five years ago, the 79-year-old was walking for more than hour each day. Then the discs in his back began to deteriorate to the point where he experienced so much pain, he could barely move.

In the spring, out of desperation, Brewer said he attended a seminar in Penticton about stem cell therapies for those suffering with chronic pain from an Idaho-based clinic. After his back surgery was delayed in Canada, he said he was so desperate for a solution he drove himself to Idaho for a consultation.

“I got up one morning and I couldn’t walk at all. So I decided to follow up the seminar with a consultation, which they paid for. I travelled to Idaho. They put me up in a hotel and then I consulted with them the following day,” he said.

The Keremeos resident said the clinic doctor warned him that the therapy doesn’t work on everyone and that he could only get half of the $5,000 he would pay for the therapy if that was the case. Brewer said he decided to take the treatment after the hour-long consultation.

“The pain was so severe that when you are desperate, you’d almost do anything to stop that pain.”

Three days after the stem cell treatment, which involved injecting the stem cells into the part of his back that was causing the issues, he said the pain completely disappeared. While he said he still had some discomfort he felt was normal for someone his age, the severe pain was gone.

“The treatment is so simple that it is mind boggling. They inject you with stem cells. They buy stem cells from the labs, remove the DNA from them and then introduce them back into me. Because they have no DNA, there is no possibility of rejection,” he said of how the treatment was explained to him at the clinic.

Stem cell therapy remains a controversial practice in Canada. In May, Health Canada announced it considers the therapy to be a type of drug treatment. It must go through rigorous reviews and be formally approved before being legally offered to the public. Health Canada has also recently been cracking down on clinics in provinces that offer the treatment, telling them to stop because there is a lack of clinical evidence saying the treatment is safe and the long-term adverse effects are still not known.

But now that Brewer said he can go back to his normal active routine, he said he is left disappointed and angry at the Canadian medical system, which he thinks only applies band aid solutions to people’s medical problems. He said he didn’t feel Canadian doctors were honest with him about his chances of recovery after the four-hour back surgery they said he would require.

“I’m not a young person and for all these years I have believed what our doctors and what our medical professionals have said was true,” he said.

“I could do nothing physically. Now I’m out in the yard everyday. I’m working, I’m landscaping my yard right now. I’m feeling that I am doing everything that I am doing and more than what I think I should be able to do.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Penticton Indian Band photo)
Penticton Indian Band COVID outbreak up to 22 cases

The PIB has been grappling with a surge in cases since an April funeral

An example of one the sounding boards the RDOS has set up to gather feedback for their first parks, trails and recreation master plan. (RDOS)
Looking for feedback from Princeton and Keremeos for park and rec plan

Sounding boards have been set up in both regions for in-person input

Al Kowalko shows off the province's first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
Okanagan schools shifting gears to electric buses

Vernon, Central Okanagan, Rocky Mountain and Okanagan-Skaha on board

Flooding around the entrance of Mission Creek into Okanagan Lake has been a reflection of the impact of climate change on the spring snowmelt across the Okanagan Valley watershed. (File photo)
B.C. water sustainability plan pitched to Okanagan stakeholders

Seeking resolution to water and land-use conflicts

An unused fruit stand at Highway 97 and Road 1 went up in flames Thursday night. (Oliver Fire Department)
UPDATE: Abandoned Oliver fruit stand fire considered suspicious

The timing of the midnight fire is one reason the fire is suspicious

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Interior Health nurses administer Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News file)
People aged 30+ in Summerland, Rutland offered vaccine amid high transmission risk

Interior Health offers residents of Rutland and Summerland aged 30 and up chance at vaccine

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The postponement of the event was put in place to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

Ally Thomas, 12, seen in an undated family handout photo, died on April 14 from a suspected overdose. Her family says they are frustrated more public supports weren't available when they tried to get her help. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Minister says suspected overdose death of 12-year-old pushing B.C. to ‘do better’

Minister Sheila Malcolmson of Mental Health and Addictions says the government is working ‘as hard as we can’ to build a system of care for youths

Lake Country firefighters assisted the RCMP on Kalamalka Lake Tuesday, May 4. (Fire Department file photo)
Okanagan RCMP interrupt houseboat break-in

Pair in their 30s arrested but no charges laid after alleged Kalamalka Lake incident

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

A spectator looks on as the Olympic Caldron is relit in downtown Vancouver, Wednesday, February 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Small majority of B.C. residents in favour of a Vancouver 2030 Olympic bid: survey

A new survey shows a split over the possibility of public money being spent to organize and host the winter games

Alex Hegedus (left) with his wife and two young children. (Contributed/Kelowna RCMP)
Family offers reward for information about Peachland man’s suspicious 2018 death

Alex Hegedus died under suspicious circumstances in March 2018

Revelstoke’s Mayor Gary Sulz getting his COVID-19 vaccination on April 5. (Jocelyn Doll - Revelstoke Review)
Revelstoke is leading B.C.’s interior on vaccinations: Interior Health

Approximately 70% of the community has first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

Most Read