Fallon Paiute Shoshone leader battling disease
Rochanne Downs, the vice chairwoman of the Fallon Paiute Shoshone Tribe of Nevada, was recently diagnosed with Microscopic Polyangiitis, an auto-immune disease.

Downs, 36, didn't know she had the disease until she went to the hospital about two weeks ago with symptoms of pneumonia. When her condition didn't improve, she returned for further tests, which uncovered the condition.

Downs, who is known nationally for her work on Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act issues, was in critical condition but began to improve after receiving several blood transfusions. She is almost ready to go home and her family held a blood drive to ensure she has a future supply if she needs it.

“She said she's ready to get out tomorrow, but that's how feisty she is," Yvonne Capucci, Downs' sister, told The Lahontan Valley News. “She just doesn't realize that she was that sick. We've told her, but she doesn't understand she was that sick.”

Downs and her husband have three adopted children. She gave birth to a girl eight months ago.

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Tribal official battling auto-immune disease (The Lahontan Valley News 6/23)