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

Town grants Chamber $20K

Chamber estimates up to $65K in lost revenue, turns to council for help

COVID-19 highlights lack of connectivity in First Nations communities

Many don’t have access required to utilize online platforms, says First Nations Technology Council

Salmon closures announced for Skeena and Nass watersheds

DFO notice expands on May 21 chinook ban throughout Skeena watershed

New Salt Boutique the realization of a vision for owner Caroline Marko

Marko combines the rough and the soft in a minimalist, clean airy space

Coastal GasLink pipeline work ramps up

With spring thaw ending, workers start to arrive for summer season

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of the world of summer sports

In a typical year, there are plenty of summer sporting events and tournaments held across Canada

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

Most Read