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She spent over 2 months in hospital, waiting on a $750K drug. Now, she’s gone home for Xmas

Click to play video: 'Shantee Anaqoud goes home for Christmas' Shantee Anaqoud goes home for Christmas
UBC student Shantee Anaquod is heading home from the hospital after receiving treatment for aHUS. Catherine Urquhart reports – Dec 14, 2017

It’s been just over two months since 23-year-old Shantee Anaquod became ill, thinking she had nothing more serious than the flu.

The UBC student later discovered that she had atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS), a rare autoimmune disease characterized by renal failure.

The illness can be treated using Soliris, a drug that costs $750,000 per year.

WATCH: Ailing UBC student now approved for expensive drug

Click to play video: 'Ailing UBC student now approved for expensive drug' Ailing UBC student now approved for expensive drug
Ailing UBC student now approved for expensive drug – Nov 22, 2017

The Province of B.C. initially wouldn’t cover the drug.

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But that changed last month when she became the first patient to receive Soliris as a publicly-funded treatment.

Her brother had asked Santa to bring her home from the hospital.

And on Thursday, after over two months in hospital, she went home for Christmas.

“It feels like the outside world doesn’t really exist,” Anaquod told Global News.

“So it’s definitely going to be weird to go back outside.”

Soliris is a Health Canada-approved drug that was already covered in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta.

B.C.’s Drug Benefit Council said the treatment was too expensive and did not have clear benefits.

But 10 days after Anaquod first shared her story, the province decided to cover the drug, though it’s still working to bring its cost down.

“The ministry is strongly objecting to the excessive pricing Alexison, the pharmaceutical company, has set Soliris,” B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said.

READ MORE: ‘I can start with my life again’: life-saving drug approved for B.C. woman with rare disease

“It didn’t feel like anything” when Anaquod received her first treatment, she said.

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But right away, “I just felt like I was going to be able to get out of the hospital eventually.”

Her treatment isn’t over yet — she still needs to do dialysis three to four times a week — but she has a special job when she goes home.

“She’s looking forward to cooking the turkey this year,” her mother Jennifer said.

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