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Would you be prepared to break the law to save your child’s life?
That’s just what happened to the Lambert family from Sydney Australia, who decided to give Katelyn, then just a baby, a cannabis extract.
“Who do you love more than your children? – your grandchildren,” says Joy Lambert, Katelyn’s grandmother. “So at 67 I decided I could be civilly disobedient and just do what was right for the children with epilepsy. That’s how I see it.”
A Bleak Future for Katelyn
Katelyn, now 4, was born with a rare genetic disorder called Dravet Syndrome, which at its worst saw her fitting over a thousand times a day. Starting when she was just 6 months old, Katelyn’s future looked bleak; despite taking a cocktail of antiepileptic medication, her seizures continued unabated, damaging her brain and mental function.
After a particularly harrowing two-and-a-half-hour seizure that saw Katelyn helicoptered to a specialist hospital, the family decided to look for alternative treatments. And before long Katelyn’s father Michael came across the CNN documentary about fellow Dravet sufferer Charlotte Fiji who, after taking high CBD/ low THC cannabis oil, had experienced an almost unthinkable improvement in her condition.
CBD, otherwise known as Cannabidiol, is one of over 100 compounds in the cannabis plant called Cannabinoids and has proven to have particular efficacy in cases of childhood epilepsy.
Could Cannabidiol Be the Answer to Katelyn’s Seizures?
Spurred on by Charlotte’s improvement, Michael took to the internet, eventually ordering CBD Hemp extract from Danish company Endoca. The change was immediate.
“Katelyn has not had a seizure in a year,” says Joy, “and that is miraculous for Dravet Syndrome. It is untreatable by normal medicines.”
“I’ve seen such a difference since she’s been on the CBD,” Joy goes on. “She’s happier, she’s more alert, she goes to preschool. We don’t fear when she’s there that she’ll have six seizures through that day, so we’re very happy with that. It’s a little step, but we’ve got to be grateful for that. She’s alive.”
Lamberts Donate $33.7 Million to Cannabis Research
This would be just another ‘medical cannabis miracle cure’ story if it weren’t for the fact that Barry Lambert, Katelyn’s grandfather, is a multimillionaire. Neither he nor wife Joy had ever smoked a joint in their lives, but they were so amazed by Katelyn’s improvement that they decided to donate $33.7 million to medical cannabis research.
The result? The Lambert Initiative at Sydney University, which ‘will explore the potential of compounds derived from the cannabis plant (cannabinoids) in treating a range of diseases.’
“Now there is a lot of anecdotal evidence around the world for the benefits of CBD for kids with seizures but there are also possible benefits for a whole range of diseases and that’s what the research is aimed at, not just epilepsy,” says Barry. “So hopefully before long we’ll hear how cannabinoids from medical cannabis can assist a range of medical conditions.”
The Lamberts hope that their unprecedented donation could be a real game changer in the world of medical cannabis research, especially at a time when, at least in Australia, the laws are changing to permit the use of cannabis for certain medical conditions.
“I think there’s a lot riding on this Sydney University research,” says Barry. “And hopefully the scientists will prove what we believe to be true beyond doubt. I think the cannabis plant will be proven to be the wonder plant of this century. I know it’s been around for previous centuries, but I think scientists will discover what a wonderful plant it is and it will be of great benefit to mankind.”
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