The Sunday Telegraph
Dad David with his daughter Deisha who can live a normal life now that she takes cannabis oil which has allowed her to live seizure free.
THEY are parents who give their sick children cannabis and they don’t care what anyone thinks. As far as they are concerned, their kids are alive today due to daily use of the illegal drug.
The Steven’s family from Coffs Harbour told of their emotional choice to put their eight-year-old daughter on cannabis oil at an international symposium on Medicinal Cannabis held in Tamworth yesterday.
Epilepsy sufferer Deisha Stevens pictured in Tamworth with her dad David. Deisha takes cannabis oil for her condition and it has allowed her to live seizure free.
David Stevens said doctors had told him Deisha was probably going to die from her rare form of epilepsy which caused seizures every five to eight seconds day and night despite multiple anti-convulsive drugs.
“She was on seven separate anti-convulsion medications and steroids four times a day. They were not working and did not stop her seizures, but now we are down to almost nil medication except for the cannabis oil,” he said.
“They said she’ll either die or regress from brain damage from the seizures.”
Doctors refer to Deisha as a miracle child after she went from having a seizure every five to eight seconds on a cocktail of anti-seizure drugs to none on cannabis oil.
That was in April and in a desperate bid to find an alternative to keep his child alive, he and his wife Jamaica went to Nimbin to hear a medicinal cannabis presentation. Three days later they started Deisha on the cannabis oil and saw results almost immediately.
“You fight for your children, we went looking for answers and we did not want to watch her fade away,” Mr Stevens said.
Seven months later and the girl who could barely talk, read or write is seizure-free and blitzing the spelling bee at school.
“She has three millilitres, three times a day and all her doctors know and the paediatrician calls Deisha her miracle child,” he said.
“Now she can retain information and learn and we are getting sentences out of her, she was walking about like a zombie and now she is totally seizure-free.”
The issue of medicinal cannabis was brought into the open by Dan Haslam and Mother Lucy and father Lou.
Also at the symposium featuring international experts were the parents of other children who are actively breaking the law in a last-ditch attempt to save their sick children. One, who did not want to be named, said they had no other choice as all other treatments had failed and the medical fraternity had given up on their child.
The symposium was organised by Lucy Haslam whose son Dan Haslam has terminal cancer. The 24-year-old went public about his use of cannabis, to counter the debilitating nausea caused by the chemotherapy, to push for reform.
The family’s story moved the government to announce a trial of medicinal cannabis although the details of the trial are yet to be released.
Dan Haslam has terminal cancer and finds that cannabis keeps the post chemo nausea at bay.
Ms Haslam said the focus of the symposium was to address the issue of supply of cannabis for sick Australians who are “considered criminals” under current law.
“I want to increase awareness of the urgency of the need and have some credible movement forward instead of the baby steps we’ve seen so far,” Ms Haslam said.
The symposium was opened by Premier Mike Baird and the government contributed financially to the event as well.
Previous attempts to allow the use of cannabis for terminally ill patients have previously been curbed based on government concern about supply and distribution of the drug.