Thanks to medical marijuana, a little boy with life-threatening epilepsy has finally received the help and hope he desperately needed.
Billy Caldwell, 11, an Irish boy with a rare, life-threatening form of epilepsy, spent the last six months in Los Angeles receiving medical treatment with cannabis extracts. Billy suffers from intractable status epilepticus and his disease cannot be controlled with changes to lifestyle or diet. Children with this condition are commonly treated with large, preventative doses of Benzodiazepines, such as Lorazepam (Xanax).
As an infant, Billy would sometimes suffer from almost 100 seizures daily. Doctors told his mother he was too sick for treatment and advised she prepare his funeral. Charlotte Caldwell never gave up on Billy, and now she may finally have found a way to control his disease. Following treatment with cannabis oil, Charlotte Caldwell claims that Billy is “more focused, more balanced, eating better, sleeping better with the oil. There is a huge difference and I see him every day”.
Late last year, Billy and Charlotte traveled to California to seek epilepsy treatment. After a terrifying setback sent Billy to the hospital, the little family could no longer afford their modest accommodations and were forced to sleep in a tent. Effectively, Billy was a “cannabis refugee”, because he could not legally return home to Ireland with the medicine he needed.
Thankfully, Dr. James Linden of Greenlight Medicine reached out to Charlotte. Dr. Linden had developed a CBD/THC treatment able to replace Billy’s California medication and pass through customs when the family returned to Ireland. Charlotte reported, “Incredibly, he has achieved this he can provide Billy CBD/THC whole plant extract manufactured to pharmaceutical standards and 100 per cent legal in both U.K and ROI. We just came in through and brought Billy’s CBD/THC through with us.”
Most recently, Billy and Charlotte Caldwell walked 150 miles from their home in Castlederg, County Tyrone to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast. They are requesting that the doctors at Royal Victoria take over Billy’s treatment and administer the cannabis medication. During the journey, Billy celebrated 50 days free of seizures. He is planning to return to the U.S. in several weeks, in order to receive a brain surgery that is finally possible now that his condition is under control.
“Here he is today walking tall, head high and heart strong, 150 miles to Belfast to beg for his right to live. He is begging they recognise the medicine that is keeping his life-threatening seizures away – medicinal cannabis. Medicinal cannabis has given me back my right as a mummy to hope, but the most important thing, it has given Billy back his right to life. We need our wee country to come out and support him, stand up and make the change” says Billy’s brave mother, Charlotte Caldwell.
The Royal Victoria Hospital has officially agreed to allow the medicine. The first hospital in Northern Ireland to administer cannabis oil, many hope this incredible step means more life-saving cannabis treatments will soon become approved and accessible.