It has been a long road, and an incredible journey for Billy, his mom Charlotte, and medical cannabis in Northern Ireland. Ten years ago, the doctors gave up on Billy, now 11 years old. He still suffers from a rare kind of epilepsy. Each seizure Billy survived left scars on his brain, causing developmental delay.
Belfast Live reported on the 150 miles Billy and his mom walked to get the government to pay attention to his plight. The walk was on behalf of all the children who needed medicinal cannabis in Northern Ireland.
An epilepsy specialist agreed to treat Billy with medicinal cannabis. Previously, Billy and his mom had to go to the US for the treatment. The news made the eight-day walk worth every step. The Royal Victoria Hospital approved the medicinal cannabis supplied by Green Light Medicine to treat Billy. This is a first in Northern Ireland. Billy’s mom said she hopes this will pave the way for other families in need of medical marijuana for seizure disorders. She said she felt the fight was finally won.
Charlotte says now that Billy’s medication has been approved, it opens the door for other children with epilepsy. Politicians and clinicians have drawn up a Medical Cannabis Bill called Billy’s Law, they will put forward the bill as an urgent priority once Stormont is functional. This will end the suffering of many patients in Northern Ireland, said Charlotte.
Doctor in LA saved his life
It’s hard to believe that ten years ago, Charlotte was sent home from the hospital and told she must make Billy as comfortable as possible because he was going to die. She couldn’t give up on him. She kept looking for a solution until she found Dr. Nordli, who saved Billy’s life. That meant she had to take Billy to Los Angeles every time Billy needed treatment.
A doctor based in Belfast has now agreed to help, and he has contacted Dr. Douglas Nordli, to find out how he can treat Billy with medical cannabis in Northern Ireland. Billy and his mom walked all the way from their home in Castlederg, Co Tyrone, to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast. Many people supporting them joined the walk for Billy, calling for legal medical marijuana for those who need it most.
A grateful mom
Charlotte was extremely grateful to friends and family members as well as strangers supporting her and Billy. She said that what she has achieved would not have been possible without all the support she received over the last ten years.
The beginning of change: legal medical cannabis in Northern Ireland
It is remarkable what parents will endure to for the sake of their children, and it is heartbreaking to imagine how many children have done without medical cannabis that could have stopped their seizures. At least the victory of one boy and his mom might be the start of change.