The Return and Recovery of an Inspiration

All+competitors+and+supporters+gather+around+Autumn+at+the+dodgeball+tournament.
All competitors and supporters gather around Autumn at the dodgeball tournament.

All competitors and supporters gather around Autumn at the dodgeball tournament.

All competitors and supporters gather around Autumn at the dodgeball tournament.

Tyler Frey, Sports Editor

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On February 20, several teams competed in a dodgeball tournament to raise money for Senior Autumn Pilarski’s cause. Taking place at Wesley United Methodist Church, the tournament was added to the list of additional events in Autumn’s honor. Halfway through the day, Autumn Pilarski and her family actually showed up to watch the games. At first, it was uncertain if she was able to come due to her recovery process.

Pilarski had recently been fighting a life threatening condition called Wegener’s disease. Also known as Granulomatosis with vasculitius, this is an immune disorder where the immune system attacks the blood vessels of the body with mutated antibodies. Autumn was diagnosed with a very rare type of the disease however.

Douglas Pilarski, Autumn’s father, explained that what she had is called polyangitis with vasculitis. This type specifically attacks the blood vessels located in the lungs and the vascular region.

This ultimately leads to killing off tissues and destroying her own antibodies and blood vessels. But, through several treatments of two different types of chemotherapy, five plasmapheresis treatments (plasma/antibodies exchange) and eight different blood transfusions, the outlook has improved.

She is now in a recovery state. In 12-24 months, her doctors will be able to tell if there is permanent scarring in her lungs from this disorder. However, she has survived the worst and now, according to her doctors and parents, it’s about recovering and keeping her disease in a “remission” stage and going on living a normal life.

Autumn will eventually be able to live a normal life with the aid of medications and close monitoring of her health.  

“We almost lost Autumn twice while in Memphis due to how long it took to get a proper diagnosis.” Douglas Pilarski said. “I have made it my mission, that no child or parent will ever have to suffer what she did and what we went through as parents.”

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The Return and Recovery of an Inspiration