“Tanika the Tiger”

“Tanika the Tiger”
CALEDONIA – Tanika Jacobs, 11, is a Sick Kids Ambassador and inspired the title character in the story book “Lucy VS The Frown”. —Haldimand Press photo by Sheila Phibbs.

By Sheila Phibbs

The Haldimand Press

CALEDONIA—In many ways, Tanika Jacobs is a typical 11-year-old – she enjoys dance, sports, video games, crafts, and anything to do with animals. Unlike most children, though, she is awaiting a double lung transplant for the second time in just three years.

In March of 2016, Tanika had been ill with what was thought to be the flu. That changed when her mom, Nicky, found her struggling to breathe, aspirating into her lungs. Tanika was rushed to hospital in septic shock and then air lifted to McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton.

Tanika was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and experienced organ failure. A blood clot led to the amputation of her right leg below the knee. Due to scar tissue in her lungs, she was sent to Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto where she underwent three months of ECMO (oxygenation) therapy followed by a double lung transplant on July 25, 2016.

Tanika was able to return to school at Caledonia Centennial in 2017 and resume her favourite activities, including sports and dance. Unfortunately, shortness of breath in April of 2018 sent her back to Sick Kids where they discovered antibody rejection, a rare form of rejection. With her lung function dropping to 20%, Tanika is on oxygen full-time and travels to Sick Kids twice a week for physiotherapy to maintain lung health.

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