The Denver Post reports on the memorial service of Jack Splitt, the young medical marijuana advocate for special needs children.
Jack changed the face of cannabis for pain to the benefit of many
The law named after Jack Splitt, “Jack’s Law” was barely implemented when Jack suddenly passed away on Aug. 24. His memorial service, a celebration of life ceremony, was held in the Open Air Chapel at the Denver Botanical Gardens on the 1st of September. A crowd of hundreds attended.
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Powerful lawmakers battle for words
Three powerful lawmakers spoke at the ceremony, battling to find words. They could easily cope with any crowd at a political rally, but this was much harder: a memorial service for Jack Splitt.
Rep. Jonathan Singer asked the question: “How many 15-year-olds change the world the way Jack did?” in his eulogy.
Crowd of hundreds
The crowd of hundreds came to pay tribute to Jack, a Jefferson County special needs teenager, who battled with cerebral palsy and severe dystonia, and whose lobbying changed the law not only once, but twice.
Jack died from the complications of his disease, and used medical marijuana to manage the unbearable chronic pain that was part and parcel of his condition. His advocacy helped to pass bills that make it possible for thousands of special-needs kids in Colorado to use medical marijuana at school. Jack couldn’t speak, but his voice was heard through what he wrote. He was a bright and eager student, and prepared his testimonies himself.
Those who heard his plea and the lawmakers who spoke, mostly remembered his smile and his eyes, always scanning the room of committee members to make a silent plea.
Jack’s plea was simple
Jack’s message was straightforward; all children should have the opportunity to be part of their community. Jack’s community gathered for his memorial: children in wheelchairs, kids with canes and children turning cartwheels on the lush lawn of the Botanical Gardens.
State officials and powerful lawyers attended; there were people in Jack’s favorite team’s jerseys, the Broncos; and one kid came as Spider-Man, another one of Jack’s favorites.
His elementary school teacher remembered how Jack was always so eager to answer questions in class that his computer, helping him to communicate, couldn’t keep up.
A pupil any special needs teacher can only wish for
Katrine Breien Gosselin said Jack was any special needs teacher’s dream pupil; and a friend, also with cerebral palsy, speaking through a computer, told of the harmless mischief the two of them would get up to, and how much he will miss Jack.
Jack’s mom Stacey Linn told the story of Jack as an activist, and how his legacy inspired activists around the world. Jack not only changed people’s minds about medical marijuana, but challenged people’s perception of what special-needs children can do and achieve.
He was set free
Jack’s family set butterflies free during the service as a symbol of Jack’s vibrant spirit released from its bounds in a body that couldn’t walk or talk. A little girl pointed them out to her mom and said, “look”.
Cannabis for pain
It is as if Jack achieved what he had to, and was released from his suffering. It is with gratitude that we remember that his distress was made bearable by cannabis for pain, and that he gave everything he could so that others could find relief as well.