'If Tanner could speak he would say thank you': Dozens of strangers offer to pay for sick boy's medication
SASKATOON -- A Saskatoon pharmacy has been inundated with calls to help a young Saskatoon boy get his medication.
"We actually had to have one of our staff members entirely dedicated to fielding phone calls in regards to Tanner," said Courtney Junop, pharmacist and owner of the Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy, a highly specialized compound facility located inside Royal University Hospital.
Since CTV News aired his story on Monday, there has been an outpouring of support.
Tanner Wilson, six, is non-verbal and suffers from Leigh's disease, a terminal disorder affecting the nervous system.
His vitamins, which he needs for energy, have been denied by Ministry of Health, the family said, which means the Wilson's are on the hook for more than $500 a month.
The compound of vitamins is covered in some provinces, but only on a case-by-case basis in Saskatchewan.
On the same day the family received the rejection letter from the province, they learned an anonymous "Christmas angel" paid for Tanner's December medication.
A Regina woman, Kanchan Sharma, then offered to pay $3,000 for six months of refills.
"When you're sick what do you need? Comfort and medication, so that person feels better," Sharma said.
Sharma learned kindness from her father, she said.
"He taught us from the beginning to help out, so it's dedicated to my father.”
Dozens of people from Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Manitoba have contacted CTV News, saying they were so inspired by the story they, too, wanted to help pay for a month of Tanner's medications.
"I believe the family will be covered for all of 2020, so I think that's pretty amazing," Junop said.
"There are just no words to explain how grateful Patrick and I are, because if Tanner could speak he would say thank you," Leeanne Wilson said.
Junop said she's hoping for better pediatric coverage in Saskatchewan and for a government that is more aware. She would like to see more medical professionals have influence over what drug plans decide to cover.
Ministry of Health spokesperson Colleen Book said in an emailed statement that coverage is reviewed on a case-by-case basis "to determine eligibility based on condition and the components of the cocktail."
"We do have an appeal process – if the physician can provide evidence that supports the use of this drug for this patient/condition, then we would take that under consideration," the statement said.
Wilson said her Calgary doctor plans on filing an appeal.