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  • Christopher Smith, Publisher

Mothers Day: 44 Cannabis Mom Stories

It's Mothers Day again, and a darn good time to celebrate the heroic sacrifices made by mothers with children suffering from serious medical conditions, who benefit from cannabis medicines whether their families or governments agree or not.

From those who have taken on their federal governments to those who have broken the law, created organizations, companies, products ... these powerful and fearless women have done whatever it takes to get their children the medicine they need. Bravo!

This group of 44 Moms, selected at random (there are countless others!) are intended to represent and inspire. Some have very little media coverage, but for most, the links selected here are just a start. Enjoy and Happy Mothers Day!

Jana Adams and daughter Brooke (California, USA)

Brooke’s “cocktail” includes CBDA and CBG both from Myriam’s Hope, a Nevada-based company that manufactures cannabis oils that help with seizures. Adams spends $450 a month on medicine for her daughter. The money is all out of pocket, though some companies offer discounts to patients with disabilities. The Adams family belongs to Kaiser, but Kaiser doesn’t approve of medicinal cannabis.


Dr. Jennifer Anderson and her son Nicholas (Canada)

Having never planned to be the pot doc for kids, Dr. Jennifer Anderson battled bureaucracy, stigma and apathy as she sought care for her dying son. The experienced opened a door to helping patients and discovering her life’s passion. Today she advocates and educates on medical cannabis while watching her son and family thrive. Lesson learned: don’t ever underestimate the power of a mother’s love. (see also and the book “Courage in Cannabis” by Dr. Bridget Williams, MD)

Emma Appleby and daughter Teagan (UK)

“… Emma Appleby, from Aylesham in Kent, pays £2,000 a month for the medicine for her daughter Teagan, 11. "That's ridiculous pressure I've got every month to try and find this kind of money to keep her alive," she said…”

Moriah Bahnhart and daughter Dahlia (Florida, USA) (“proud to be criminals”)

“Moriah Barnhart is committed to changing state and federal cannabis laws. Moriah’s daughter, Dahlia, was diagnosed with aggressive brain cancer at the age of two. Moriah had already been advocating for many years against the drugging of children and for increased parental rights in the care of American children. While fighting for Dahlia’s life, Moriah quickly found herself personally immersed in the fight against bad laws as well. Within days of starting an experimental chemotherapy protocol, Dahlia began suffering severe side effects such as mouth sores, constant nausea and vomiting, atrophy of both legs, nerve damage, and severe chronic pain. Moriah discovered that a refusal of conventional medicine would result in losing custody of her daughter to the state (where treatments would be given without her consent). Her daughter was dying not only from the disease but from its “treatment.” (see also: and WOMEN MAKING A DIFFERENCE | MORIAH BARNHART [ending cannabis prohibition] – interview with Montel Williams

Analiza Bortell and daughter Alexis Bortell (Texas & Colorado, USA)

Ilmarie Braun and son Eddie Braun (UK)

“…The mother of a severely epileptic three-year-old boy who has up to 120 seizures a day has accused the Government of failing him after he was refused the right to use medical cannabis. Ilmarie Braun says the expert Government panel set up to grant licence applications is just “paying lip service” to the families of seriously ill children. She and her husband Alex say cannabis oil bought over the counter has reduced their son Eddie’s seizures from around 500 a day to 120…”

Suzeanna Brill and her son, David (Georgia, USA)

“… “Within 14 hours, David had the worst seizure of his life and had to be taken to the hospital,” Bernard tells PEOPLE. “At the medical center, police and DCFS seized custody of David and his service dog, Malory, who was taken to the pound. Warrants for reckless conduct were taken out on Matthew and Suzeanna and both were arrested later that day.”

The Brills spent six days in jail, and when their son was released from the hospital after one week, he was sent to a group home. Brief visits and phone conversations are allowed, but David’s seizures have returned, says Suzeanna, and now he is separated from the service dog that used to “alert” when they were about to happen.

Charlotte Caldwell and son Billy (Ireland, UK)

“…And we were simply living a life of dashing to the hospital on a weekly or fortnightly basis. He would be blue-lighted to the emergency room and it was only a matter of time, I truly believe, it was only a matter of time before one of those seizures actually took my little boy.

So Billy could have also had up to 300, 500 seizures per day. He was on a cocktail of pharmaceuticals that were not working. And then he was on a further cocktail of pharmaceuticals to counter-react the side effects, the detrimental side effects, of the cocktail of AADs….”

Lanai Carter and her son Lindsay (Brisbane, Australia)

He was running low on the vaporized cannabis and he had two seizures in the same morning and went into post seizure vomiting for both of those. We really struggled to keep him out of hospital that day."

Mikelle Challenger and her son James (USA)

“…It tells the story of another Mama Bear and her child (Papa Bear, too!) Mikelle Challenger, her husband Michael and their son James. Mikelle says that James started having seizures when he was 3 ½. He has Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, which gave him seizures every 15 to 30 minutes. The mom was giving him 22 pills per day even though she felt that most of them didn’t do anything. Little James is also autistic, so this family had a devastatingly painful situation. In fact, they thought they’d lose him more than once. But having Lennox Gastaut made James eligible for cannabis medicine in Texas, and as you’ll see in this video, the change in James was almost immediate. She says two hours after his first dose he made eye contact with his parents, which he had not done for years – that’s how sick he was…” (see also: )

Janea Cox and daughter Haleigh (Georgia, USA) (Haleigh’s Hope CBD)

“…Janea Cox, her husband Brian, their 7-year-old daughter Haleigh and their chocolate Lab Kala left their Forsyth home in December 2016 for their semi-annual trip to Colorado. They flew into Denver and made their way toward Colorado Springs in a rental car, squeezing the three of them, a wheelchair and the dog into the small, four-door sedan. A handicap-equipped van would have been better, but the economy ride was what they could afford. The family checked into a budget hotel and went to sleep; not that they ever sleep well, or for very long. Young Haleigh was up through the night, as usual. She has epilepsy so severe she requires constant oversight. For most of her life, her young brain hasn’t been seizure-free long enough to develop normally. So she gets around in a wheelchair, receives nourishment through a feeding tube and is barely able to communicate. Haleigh is a prisoner in her own body. She also has type one diabetes. Kala is a service dog specially trained to check blood sugar levels by smell and alert handlers of spikes — to do what Haleigh cannot do for herself, to speak out when she needs help. These family trips are not fun. They stretch the Coxes to their financial limit. And they take everything Janea and Brian have just to get to the offices of the Flowering Hope Foundation, where botanist Jason Cranford dispenses his specially formulated cannabis oil, Haleigh’s Hope, named after his special client. Janea believes it is the only thing that has kept her daughter alive…”

Hannah Deacon and son Alfie Dingley (UK)

“… UK-based Hannah Deacon is mother to Alfie and Annie and partner to Drew. Their son Alfie started having seizures at eight months old which progressively worsened with his age. At age five, he was diagnosed with PCDH19, a rare epilepsy syndrome with early-onset seizures, cognitive and sensory delays, and behavioral problems. The only treatment which worked for Alfie was hospital in-patient IV steroids, which are extremely dangerous to give on a regular, long term basis. The impact of his epilepsy was not his alone, it created financial hardship for Alfie’s entire family and disrupted any semblance of a balanced happy family life. While Alfie’s condition progressively worsened, Hannah began to research alternative treatments for his epilepsy. Her research led her to medical cannabis and a family move to Holland in 2017 for access to medical cannabis as a last-ditch attempt to save Alfie’s life…”

Samantha Fairlie and daughter Maya Simons (UK)

“…"I have started to looking abroad for treatment but this would be very costly and could mean selling our home," she said. "Why should we have to do this when it is legal to prescribe it in our own country?Maya has really deteriorated over the past year, I want my little girl back."

Paige Figi and daughter Charlotte Figi (Colorado, USA)

“…Charlotte is no longer suffering. She is seizure-free forever. Thank you so much for all of your love. Please respect their privacy at this time," a friend of the Figis wrote on that page shortly after 9 p.m. April 7. Charlotte's passing was confirmed by the Realm of Caring Foundation, a medical marijuana advocacy group co-founded by Paige Figi.

Karina Garcia and her son, Giovanni “Jojo” Jiminez (California, USA)

Hill's inspiration comes from Giovanni "Jo Jo" Jiminez, a senior at South San Francisco High School, and his mother, Karina Garcia, both of South San Francisco. Jo Jo has suffered from epileptic seizures, off and on, since he was three months old. He suffers from a rare form of epilepsy, called Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. He often wouldn't go to school, just lying in bed because of the violent seizures. His mother tried traditional Western medical remedies, to no avail. She finally found Elysium oil, made by Cannavalon Biosciences in Santa Cruz, which contains 21 mg of CBD and 1 gram of THC, the psychoactive agent in cannabis. She said she has established a complicated care plan at her school for how to administer the cannabis to her son during the day -- current law states that she can't bring the medicine within 1,000 feet of the campus.

Danielle Davis and her daughter Sophia Gibson (UK)

“I am back to crying my heart out, I haven't slept and I have been up Googling: is there a way or a loophole that someone has missed? "It is worrying to the point where you feel sick and can't eat - and how do you explain to a child that has learning difficulties her medication is getting taken away?" she said. Ms Davis said she was very concerned that Sophia would regress. "I am back to thinking are we going to lose her again? "Her symptoms are so severe that the chances of her even getting to 18 are quite slim and when things have been so good for so long you do start to get relaxed," she added.

Karen Gray and son Murray Gray (Scotland, UK)

Hannah Deacon from Kenilworth fought tirelessly to get access to medicinal cannabis for her epileptic son. Alfie Dingley used to suffer up to 30 seizures a day before Hannah started administering the Class B drug medically. Cannabis was then legalised for medical reasons back in November 2018. And now, Hannah and pharmacist Caroline Harvey, who fulfilled the UK's first NHS prescription for medical cannabis for Alfie, will be able to give it to more patients. After fighting together, they have now set up a route for others if needed.

Meiko Hester-Perez and son Joey (California, USA)

“I saved my son's life -- and marijuana saved my son's life," said Hester-Perez. "When a mother hears that her son is knocking on death's door, you will do anything to save his life."

Ali Hughes and son Charlie Hughes (UK)

“We can’t afford to keep paying for the treatment privately. Something has to give. Does a child have to die before they do something? It’s not just Charlie we are fighting for, it’s other children and their futures too.”

Elain Levy and daughter Fallon (UK)

“The mother of a woman with severe epilepsy has put her house up for sale after spending her family’s savings on private prescriptions for medical cannabis. Elaine Levy, the mother of 25-year-old Fallon, who has Lennox–Gastaut syndrome, said she had been forced to sell up in an attempt to fund her daughter’s care after spending more than £30,000. “We just can’t do it any more,” she said. “It’s been a year and three months but we’ve got less than a month’s medicine left and we’re now at the end of the road. Why am I having to beg when it was made legal last November?” She said her daughter no longer needed a wheelchair after using full extract cannabis oil, after years of taking sedatives. “Her IQ has gone up and she now tells me where to go. It’s not a cure but the result is phenomenal.”

Danielle Lutrell and her son Shelby, (Tasmania, Australia)

“… “I feel saddened and frightened that at any time I could be arrested for helping my son. I believe we have anti-discrimination laws to protect people like my son but the government is discriminating again him by blocking access to a legal medicine,” she told

Janie Maedler and daughter Rylie (Delaware, USA)

“… After hearing this devastating news, Janie dove into research. She could not deny giving Rylie the best outcome if it was a possibility. After seeing remarkable results, Janie single handedly fought for Delaware to have a pediatric medical marijuana law and for it’s pediatric medical card holders to be allowed to have their cannabis oil on school property. Both of these laws, Rylie’s Law and SB181, passed with unanimous votes, which is unprecedented. Janie continues to this day to stay extremely active as a policy advisor, speaker, educator and consultant in pediatric medical cannabis in the hopes of giving families better options they may not have had before….”

Stacie Mathes and daughter Josie (Tennessee, USA)

“…A Greene County mother is again at the center of statewide policy debate as the Tennessee Medical Cannabis Only Act of 2018 has cleared its first legislative hurdle. Last week, Stacie Mathes was back in Nashville once again to advocate for the use of medical cannabis and to testify before the state House of Representatives’ Criminal Justice subcommittee. Three years ago, Mathes helped lead a charge to change state law that would allow her daughter — and other children who suffer from severe seizures — to be able to legally possess and take medical cannabis oil in Tennessee. Now she is on a mission to expand medical cannabis to other medical patients in the state. During her testimony on Tuesday, Mathes told the legislative panel how her 4-year-old daughter, Josie, has been positively impacted by the use of medical cannabis oil. Mathes explained that Josie did not respond to traditional medication in the positive way that she has to medical cannabis.

“I am here because I know it works,” Mathes told the legislators.

Judy Mendoza and son Ryan (California, USA)

“Determined to do anything she could to relieve her son's suffering, [Judy] Mendoza said she finally decided to resort to a radical option -- medical marijuana. Mendoza could consider this controversial course of treatment because she lives in California, one of 14 states where the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes is legal when recommended by a doctor.

"My first gut reaction was, 'Oh, my God. [Giving my child marijuana] seems really out there,'" she said. "That seems drastic." Yet Mendoza felt she had exhausted all of the other options available to help her son. Even anti-psychotic medications did not work. Her decision came down to one question: "What do I really have to lose?"

Thalia Michelle and son Lance (Texas, USA)

“Thalia Michelle isn't just trying to change Texas law; she's helping mothers across the country try to change laws in their states with the hope of giving parents more options to treat their children.”

Montgomery, Tanine and daughter Indie-Rose Clarry (UK)

“… Tannine Montgomery says she has spent £34,000 and broken the law to keep her daughter alive. Six-year-old Indie-Rose, from Clare in Suffolk, has severe epilepsy and can have up to 50 seizures a month without medical cannabis oil. Since it was legalised two years ago, only a handful of NHS prescriptions have been issued. The Department of Health and Social Care says more research is needed before it can be routinely prescribed. Ms. Montgomery says her daughter's life has been transformed since she started taking medical cannabis three years ago. "We went from constant seizures and being in hospital all the time to her being happy and attending school," she says.

Norton, Angela and her two sons Reims and Cayman, (UK)

“The hospital turned down Ms Norton's request, so she turned to a private consultant at The Portland Hospital in London, who did prescribe the drug.

She has since been told it would cost £1,800 to import and the cost could rise if the dose increased over time. "The import cost for the medication, to do it legally, is ridiculous. The other option, which is what other families are doing, is they are literally going to Holland and bringing it in illegally," Ms Norton said. "Our children's lives are at risk and that's what we are being forced to do. That's the reality of it."

Noreen O’Neill and her son Michael (Ireland, UK)

Some days, I had already been up all night as he was having nocturnal seizures intermittently. The rest of the day would be spent watching as he entered seizure after seizure after seizure, despite being on the maximum doses of several different anticonvulsant drugs. The days were interjected by blood tests, urine tests, EEGs, MRIs, physical examinations, IV lines, multiple medications and emergency seizure medication at times. What this little body went through was nothing short of torture.

Lisa Quarrel and son Cole (Scotland, UK)

"I've just walked through the airport and seen police officers I used to work with, knowing that I'm about to pick up my baggage that's got an illegal drug in it, which is just so far beyond my imagination I can't tell you."

Janel Ralph and daughter Harmony (South Carolina, USA)

The Drug Enforcement Agency has announced it will not change it's stance on the drug despite several petitions urging them to do so. The DEA says cannabis has no medical value. However, one South Carolina woman strongly disagrees. Janel Ralph says her daughter began suffering from an illness called lissencephaly when she was a baby, which causes her to have epileptic seizures. But now through the use of CBD oils, a chemical found in cannabis, her health has improved drastically. That's why she says she was dumbfounded by the DEA's decision. "The doctors told us that there was not much else that they could do for her, and that we needed to start making other arrangements. We honestly didn't believe that she would live by the end of the year," said Ralph. Ralph says her daughter's medical expenses were in the upwards of millions, with hospital stays, ambulance rides, and medications. However, since using cannabis oils, those expenses have all but disappeared.

Rachel Rankmore and son Bailey Williams (Wales, UK)

For Rachel, she cannot contemplate going back to a time when Bailey's cannabis oil was not readily available, but at the same time is fearful of the future if the medicine is not made available on the NHS. “If we could get an NHS prescription, that would change everything. We can't keep asking people for help, we can't keep begging for money. We might have to end up remortgaging our house, because we cannot go back to the way things were before we started on this medication. Bailey has changed so much in how he is in the past couple of months. It's great to see him enjoying himself again. His quality of life has improved, the number of seizures has reduced dramatically and his personality has come back. He's been playing with his younger brother and he can now play ball with his dad. That was very emotional to see.”

Sierra Riddle, and son Landon, (Utah & Colorado, USA)

“On September 30, 2012, Sierra Riddle’s life was turned upside down when her 2-year-old son, Landon, was diagnosed with Leukemia and given an 8 to 10 percent chance to live past the next 24 to 48 hours. “It was the absolute most terrifying day of my life,” Riddle wrote on Landon’s blog. For the next four months, Landon would be subjected to rounds of chemotherapy, drugs and the side-effects of treating his cancer. Just 30 days after he started chemo, Landon’s physical appearance and quality of life changed. Riddle was forced to watch her son vomit 30 to 50 times per day, withstand a 25 day food strike and spend holiday after holiday in a hospital room, as she and her family prayed for a miracle that would save her son. Finally, in January of 2013, their prayers seemed to be answered. “We discussed all of our concerns with his medical team in Utah and watched Landon continue to suffer and wither away as the piled on drug after drug,” Riddle said. “Then my mother came across cannabis oil online.” Landon’s grandmother, who had always been against drugs, spent hours researching cures for cancer and eventually found enough information to convince her daughter to at least try the cannabis to help Landon. However, living in Utah at the time, Riddle knew discussing cannabis use as part of her son’s treatment with his medical team would go nowhere. So, they packed up and moved to Colorado as “cannabis refugees.” Riddle got her son a medical marijuana card and watched his health and smile return as his quality of life improved.

“Our hearts were filled with joy that cannabis brought back the smile to Landon’s face,” she added on his blog. “Landon started getting better and better! It was as if a miracle had happened! He was smiling again and started to eat again!”

Sarah Rowland and daughter Lily (Colorado, USA)

See also:

Schaeffer, Sally and daughter Lydia (US Wisconsin)

“Standing in a Wisconsin State Capitol hearing room surrounded by parents hugging their seriously ill children, Sally Schaeffer began to cry as she talked about her daughter. Born with a rare chromosomal disorder, 6-year-old Lydia suffers from life-threatening seizures that doctors haven’t been able to control despite countless medications. The family’s last hope: medical marijuana. Schaeffer, 39, didn’t just ask lawmakers to legalize the drug. She begged. “If it was your child and you didn’t have options, what would you do?” she said during her testimony in Madison on Feb. 12…”

Yvonne Chafey and Son Logan, (Ireland, UK)

Logan Chafey is one of a kind. The three-year-old Kilmarnock toddler is the only person in Europe with chromosome 7p duplication. The genetic condition is so rare and unknown to scientists that there is no official name for it yet. The side-effects of the chromosome abnormality include epilepsy and autism; the latter of which means that little Logan can suffer multiple seizures every day. Now his mum, Yvonne, says that his current medication is having a debilitating effect on her son – leaving him feeling sick and irritable. The 40-year-old has pleaded with medical chiefs to let Logan trial medical cannabis. But Yvonne has claimed NHS Ayrshire and Arran bosses said that Logan doesn’t meet the criteria. She believes that CBD oil could potentially rid her son of his ailments and give him a better quality of life. But so far, the Caprington mum’s prayers have gone unanswered…”

Heather Jackson and her Son Zaki (Colorado, USA)

The first thing Heather Jackson did each day for much of her son Zaki’s life was make sure he was still alive…

Heather Jackson came into the cannabis space when her son Zaki was diagnosed with a rare form of childhood epilepsy. Due to the success of Zaki’s CBD treatment, Jackson became immersed in helping other families in the same situation. The outcome was in establishing the Realm of Caring Foundation, which has grown to a staggering network of 100,000, with patients from around the world being helped.”

Sarah Sugden and son Isaac (UK)

“A fundraiser has been launched to help fund vital treatment for a boy suffering from a rare form of epilepsy. Sarah Sugden, from Hull, hopes to reach the £3,000 GoFundMe target so that her three-year-old son Isaac can receive medicinal therapy treatment which is unavailable on the NHS.

Isaac has severe refractory epilepsy which cannot be treated by normal antiepileptics. Sarah wants her son to receive medicinal cannabis - specifically, epidiolex without tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) - which significantly reduces the number and severity of epileptic seizures in most children. After an exceptional circumstances panel reviewed the case, the NHS declined to provide Isaac with the treatment as he does not have one of the two health conditions which it can be prescribed for, reports Hull Live.”

Katy Thomas and son Eddy Thomas (New Zealand)

Vera Twomey and daughter Ava Barry (Ireland, UK)

“Very few parents would fail to appreciate the anxiety that comes with caring for a sick child in the middle of the night. But for Vera Twomey, whose daughter, Ava, has a severe form of epilepsy that could kill her, it was "the final straw" when her six-year-old had another violent seizure in the early hours of Wednesday. The mother-of-four then set out to walk 150 miles from the remote County Cork village of Aghabullogue to the Oireachtas (Irish parliament) in Dublin. In a Facebook post, she begged the Irish health minister to listen to her, and invited anyone who wanted to "walk a mile of the road" with her to do so. "I was shaking with fear as I left the house, not knowing whether or not I was doing the right thing…”

Ana Watson and son Preston (Colorado, USA)

Everyone in her family has their own vision of what Preston might be. Ana’s mom sees Preston getting a job at a park running a lawn mower. Ana’s dad — the man who taught Preston how to be a boy, to love mowers and tractors, and to shout, “Crank it!” — imagines playing catch with his grandson. Ana tries to keep her daydreams in check. What good is it to view her child as something he’s not? But there is one thing she hears the parents of Dravet children often say, and, yes, she hesitantly admitted, she would like it, too. “The big thing that parents are always saying,” Ana said, “is they want their child to say, ‘I love you.’ ”

Emma Watson and her son Louis Petit (UK)

“Louis Petit, 15, was bed-ridden and unable to talk properly because of his violent seizures. He and his mother Emma Matthews have been living for four months in Rotterdam, where cannabis oil can be prescribed legally. Emma, 57, said: “His life has been destroyed for the past few years. We have a very sick child and couldn’t wait years for this to happen in the UK because his life could be over by then.” Louis was having a dozen attacks, one after another. He would spend days in hospital being given powerful anti-epileptic drugs, which left him unable to speak or remember his words.

Emma, a TV film editor before moving to Holland, said: “The side-effects were so severe. Last term he only got to school for seven days and he was bedridden, unable to do anything other than watch films.

Wright, Michelle and son Ian (US Maryland)

“He was becoming much more self-injurious,” Michelle said. “He would harm himself. he would bang his head until he bled. We had to buy helmets. Sitting in a corner all day, crying, screaming, banging their head. Unable to communicate with you, unable to be touched.”

In 2014, Maryland legalized medical cannabis. Desperate to help her son, Michelle began researching its benefits, ultimately discovering the particular plants that contain chemicals that help Ian.

Today, she carefully selects, grinds, and heats the plant, and then puts it in pill form that Ian takes four times a day. “He would not be here without it,” Michelle said. “I do not believe he would be here without it. He was that ill.”

“X”, Sophie and her son “Y” (Anonymous, UK)

"The desperation you feel as a parent to protect your child is ingrained and inbuilt, so when you see your child having a seizure where they're not breathing and not responding, when you don't know if they're going to survive this one, then I think any parent would take that risk."

Kelley Yunk and her son Caleb (Wisconsin, USA)

In the trial, Caleb swallowed about 3 milligrams of a strawberry-flavored syrup twice a day. Once he started treatment, his parents said, the Milwaukee-area boy went 100 days without a seizure, and those he did have lasted less than half as long. Because Caleb's seizures can be triggered by overheating, his parents had kept him indoors on hot days but on the drug, he showed enough progress to go swimming with his friends. "His eyes sparkle more," said his mother, Kelley Yunk. "He's more engaged. I think he's more cheerful. For our family, it was such a huge blessing."



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