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As Polio-Like Illness Spreads, Family Shares Daughter's Recovery Story

In October, the CDC was investigating 155 patients with possible acute flaccid myelitis. One formerly sick child's recovery offers hope.
Posted at 5:29 PM, Oct 24, 2018

As theCDC continues to investigate possible cases of acute flaccid myelitis, or AFM, one family is sharing their story of recovery to give patients and their families hope. 

In 2014, doctors diagnosed then 6-year old Lydia Pilarowski with AFM. Her mother, Sarah, a pediatrician in the Denver area, recalls how her daughter often screamed out in pain and was unable to move her left arm. 

“It was horrible. I think as a parent when you’re watching your children screaming clearly in pain of some kind and they can’t vocalize to you where it is or what is going on, and you’re completely powerless to do anything to help them. It’s- I- there are really no words to describe it. It’s awful,” Sarah Pilarowski told Newsy. 

The CDC has reported more than 60 confirmed AFM cases in 22 states to date this year, and is inspecting at least another 65 suspected cases. Of close to 400 cases the agency has reported since August 2014, the majority have been in children.

Since 2014, Lydia Pilarowski has undergone extensive physical therapy. Today, she can participate in a variety of activities like skiing and climbing, with the use of her arms.  

"[I like] doing stuff like that make me forget about what happened. Because I can do it now and that’s what matters,” Lydia says.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.