Nelson's Anaya Cassin-Potts

‘I wanted to set her free’

With her loving family huddled around her, baby Anaya passes away at BC Children’s Hospital

A Nelson infant who suffered from a rare terminal illness has died. Anaya Cassin-Potts passed away Sunday at BC Children’s Hospital, aged 27 months.

She had Krabbe leukodystrophy, a brain disease that results in a loss of motor skills, and the ability to smile, laugh, and play.

Anaya’s mother Camara Cassin wrote in her blog that the trouble began a week ago Monday, when Anaya began experiencing “spontaneous nerve pain” while they were in Salem, Oregon. She was taken to a local hospital, where a breathing tube was inserted, and she improved.

However, on Sunday, Cassin wrote: “Time is short. Anaya’s lungs stopped working. I gave her mouth-to-mouth. We took her to the hospital, hoping it was pneumonia and treatable. They intubated her in order to keep her alive. They took excellent care of her.”

Anaya and her mother were transferred to BC Children’s Hospital, where chest x-rays showed Anaya could not expand her lungs. Her father Brent and sister Solara joined her there.

“I held my little love for hours while she was on life support,” Cassin wrote. “I kissed her face, her fingers, her toes, her lips. I wiped her tears from her eyes. I couldn’t stand forcing her to stay. I wanted to set her free. The hardest part was waiting for everyone to get there. When the family was united we made the decision unanimously. We removed her bi pap mask.”

Cassin says Anaya sighed and they took turns holding her. They gave her a bath, read her a book, and played with her.

When Anaya’s breathing became more laboured, Cassin lay down on the bed and placed her daughter over her heart.

As her daughter took her final breaths, she “let out the most beautiful baby sigh I ever heard. There was no pain in it. It was the sound of freedom, relief, joy.”

The family huddled in the hospital bed, saying goodbye.

Anaya’s struggle drew widespread attention when her mother sought mothers to donate breast milk — the only nutrition Anaya could comfortably handle — and received responses from around the region and across the country.

An online memorial service is planned Wednesday or Thursday.

Just Posted

TELUS to install fibre in Nelson

New cable will be in place this year

Cottonwood Lake group applauds RDCK purchase but wants to buy more

Purchased forest covers 33 per cent of land to be logged

Slocan Valley to be ‘lit up’ with high-speed internet in 12 months

125 kilometres of fibre-optic cable to be laid from Nakusp to Playmor Junction

LETTERS: In support of student climate strikers

From readers Tia Leschke and Sharon Inkpen

Kootenay Musical Theatre Society ready to make a deal with the Devil

The new group will put on an original show in October at the Capitol Theatre

Mueller finds no Trump collusion, leaves obstruction open

But while Mueller fully ruled out criminal collusion, he was more circumspect on presidential obstruction of justice

Kamloops chamber of commerce director fired after controversial Facebook posts

Facebook account had derogatory comments about Muslims, Justin Trudeau

B.C. RCMP officer cleared after Taser incident seriously injures woman

Woman with knives refused to comply with orders therefore officer used appropriate level of force

‘Bikinishe’ swimwear retailer prompts Better Business Bureau warning

Watchdog has gotten dozens of complaints about company, which has been using fake Vancouver address

Edmonton judge rules Omar Khadr’s sentence has expired

Eight-year sentence imposed in 2010 would have ended last October had Khadr remained in custody

Woman wants Tofino to get a nude beach

“They may enjoy a surf and then walk around naked and just be free.”

Ice climbers scale Canada’s tallest waterfall on Vancouver Island

Ice climbers Chris Jensen, Will Gadd and Peter Hoang made history

New Coast Guard ship crashes into breakwater in Victoria

‘It is fairly unprecedented that it would happen’

Sparks fly as SUV speeds wrong way down Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Most Read