Shantee Anaquod pictured with her younger brother, Jonathan, before becoming sick. After two months of being bed ridden in a hospital, Anaquod gets to spend Christmas at home with her family. Submitted photo

VIDEO: AHUS patient Shantee Anaquod is home for Christmas

Less than a month after receiving first dose of $750K drug, 23 year old healthy enough to go home

It’s a Christmas present Shantee Anaquod didn’t think she’d get.

Two months after being diagnosed with the rare blood disease Atypical Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (aHUS), Shantee, 23, will get to spend the holidays at home with her family.

The UBC student has been in hospital since Oct. 15, when flu-like symptoms escalated into a life-threatening condition. The treatment used for the disease — Soliris — costs $750,000 per year to administer, and was not covered by extended medical or the government.

READ MORE: Langley mom pleads for help in securing $750,000 life-saving drug for daughter

READ MORE: Government approves funding of $750,000 drug for B.C. woman

But after a storm of media attention, the government agreed to finance the drug, and less than a month after her first dose, Shantee is well enough to return home.

“I was really excited — super excited — because I was just waiting to know when I was going to go home,” Shantee told the Langley Times during a Soliris appointment at Vancouver General Hospital on Tuesday.

“I have more energy, and I feel like I’m getting stronger, slowly, so that’s nice. I don’t have as much pain in my body.”

Shantee was officially discharged from the hospital in the afternoon on Dec. 14, and spent the first two nights at her mom’s house. Last weekend, she was able to return to her rental in Vancouver, where she lives with three roommates.

“It was pretty great, I got a lot of sleep and got to do what I want,” Shantee said of her first night home. “It’s a little harder managing everything without a nurse … but my boyfriend helps me out quite a bit, though. He brings me food and makes sure that I can get up the stairs.”

Equally as excited about Shantee’s recovery is her family. Shantee’s brother, Jonathan, 9, made it his birthday and Christmas wish to have his sister home for the holidays.

“Just her being home, the idea of not having to celebrate Christmas in the hospital or bring her out on a day pass is phenomenal,” said her mother, Jennifer.

“And she’s been looking at turkey recipes for the last three weeks, she’s determined to cook the turkey this year.

“It’s been pretty great watching her get a little bit better every week.”

No one, including Shantee, knew that she would be discharged from hospital so soon. She still has to take a significant amount of medication every day, and undergo dialysis three to four times per week. Her Soliris dosage — which takes about an hour to administer — will now be reduced from once a week to every second week.

She also lost 25 pounds in the last two months, and has to work on gaining back her weight and strength.

“They had told us (she would be discharged) Wednesday (Dec. 13), and then Wednesday came and they said, ‘No you can’t go. Your breathing is not good enough yet, maybe we’ll look at Friday or Saturday,’” Jennifer told the Langley Times last week.

“And then she called me yesterday (Dec. 14) — I was at my staff luncheon — and said, ‘I’m going. They’re discharging me, I’m going home.’

“I was like, ‘What?’ So yeah, we had no idea.”

To make the holidays even better, Jennifer has her own homecoming to celebrate.

As she coped with Shantee’s medical battle, Jennifer also had to deal with another emergency at her house in Langley. Shortly before Shantee became ill, her neighbour’s hot water tank exploded and flooded her home. Jennifer and Jonathan spent the last couple of months in a furnished apartment in Langley City provided by her insurance.

Just a couple of weeks ago, they finally moved into a new, permanent home at a co-op in Surrey.

“I don’t know how it happened. Usually the waiting list is years, but for whatever reason, they called and we got in. So that was really well timed,” Jennifer said.

READ MORE: Langley teen seeks funding for $750,000 drug Soliris

Now, the Anaquod family is paying it forward by helping others with medical struggles. They are using what they learned through the process of obtaining Soliris to advocate for six-year-old Landen Alexa from Sooke, who is in need of a $19,000-per-month drug to treat Systemic Juvinile Idiopathic Arthrits.

Charity Cassie+Friends has been campaigning on behalf of Landen, and it just so happens that the same charity helped out Jonathan through treatments for his rare disorder, Behcet’s disease.

READ MORE: Six-year-old boy needs $19,000 a month to treat rare form of arthritis

“How things work behind the scenes was really surprising. And knowing there’s so much red tape and so many barriers to access medications and health care, for not just Shantee, but for so many people out there. I think that’s really, it was shocking to me,” Jennifer said.

“There’s been quite a few people reaching out already, so I try to connect with everybody that I can. I wish I had a magic answer.”



miranda@langleytimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Petition to install safety barriers on Hwy 97 garners over 500 supporters

Yesterday a fatal collision on Hwy 97 claimed the life of one individual

Oliver Health Centre celebrates expansion of ER

Minister of Health was in Oliver for the official opening of the improved emergency department

Okanagan health care community mourns loss of long-time hospital director

Ken Jarrard dedicated his life in Penticton to health care; he passed away today at age 92.

Four arrested, weapons, suspected drugs seized by RCMP in Penticton

Penticton RCMP take down local drug trafficking operation

Harlem Globetrotters’ Hops Pearce is pumped to bring show to Penticton

Less than two weeks to get your tickets to see Globetrotters’ high-flying stunts

WATCH: Don’t just blame AIM, all North Okanagan road crews struggling

City streets are just as bad, if not worse, than highways

Woman convicted in Salmon Arm love triangle murder granted escorted temporary absences

Monica Sikorski was 17 when she plotted shooting death of 22-year-old Tyler Myers

New book released on the untold Indigenous history of Revelstoke

Swift River is Laura Stovel’s fourth book

Vernon contractor owes company $105K for unpaid work in Yukon

Judge awards Nuway Crushing Ltd. for 2018 work on Haines Highway in Yukon

B.C. offers $5 million equipment loan program to help ailing forest contractors

Local politicians in Port McNeill and Campbell River says local economies are struggling

Vancouver Island distillery wins award for best Canadian rye whisky

Shelter Point cleans up at Canadian Whisky Awards

Scholarship receives funds from KIJHL

Launched in September, the scholarship is available to all KIJHL players

Summerland steam railway to mark 25th anniversary

Kettle Valley Steam Railway has received support from community

Crown won’t appeal sentence in child sex assault case of former Burns Lake mayor

B.C. Prosecution Service said sentence doesn’t meet standard for appeal

Most Read