Watching Autumn and her dad together is like watching two best friends sharing an inside joke – but behind all that frivolity and fun is a story of sacrifice and love.
Billy and Autumn were living in Bend when she was diagnosed with kidney cancer in the spring of 2005. When the weekly trips for treatment became too grueling, Billy quit his job as a musician and moved his daughter to Portland.
When the cancer spread too much to save her kidneys, Autumn underwent emergency surgery to remove them both. After 3 ½ years of regular dialysis, Billy was able to give her a kidney, exactly four years to the date she was first diagnosed.
“We have a birthday for it,” grinned Billy. “Last year we went to the arcade, and this year we’re gonna go bowling.”
Besides throwing parties for her new kidney, Autumn loves to ride her bike, dance, sing and play guitar (she wants to be a musician just like her dad).
With its peace sign and star motif, Autumn’s signature Nike/Doernbecher Freestyle Air Max 90 is perfect for rockstars in training.
“I love stars because they’re so bright, like tiny ball of fire,” she explained. “Plus they make it easy to run and jump and be crazy!”