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

Just Posted

Vernon climate advocacy group protests against Tolko

Group to demonstrate outside company head office Monday over plan to log close to water supply

Vernon’s Vest finishes top-two at third straight golf event

Teen phenom drops playoff at MLT Odlum Brown Classic in Surrey

Lumby pedalling toward bike park

Village and partners hope to create bike park on village property in near future

UPDATED: Power has returned in parts of Greater Vernon

Crews restore power to more than 5,000 customers after noon-hour outage

Festival goers at the 27th annual Roots and Blues Festival

The Observer asked: Where are you from and what brought you to the festival?

QUIZ: How much do you remember about Woodstock?

Weekend music festival in Bethel, New York, was held 50 years ago

U16 B.C. fastpitch team named national champs

Girls went undefeated at national tournament in Calgary

Summerland’s downtown has gone through numerous changes

Main Street has been commercial hub of community for many years

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Mistake-riddled offence leads to first loss for Okanagan Sun

The Sun lost to the Westshore Rebels 16-13

Most Read