A devoted mum campaigning for her five-year-old son to receive medicinal cannabis on the NHS is set to trigger a debate in Westminster on the issue after joining forces with a man with cancer.
Karen Gray, from East Craigs, has been fighting for the legalised prescription of cannabis oil to help son, Murray, who suffers from a rare form of epilepsy.
The P1 pupil at Clermiston Primary School receives treatment at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh for his condition, which can see him have up to 12 seizures a day.
Mrs Gray’s petition has attracted more than 50,000 signatures, but she recently came across a similar campaign created by Northumberland man Paul Keeney, who was diagnosed with penile cancer 12 months ago. It was not until she contacted the 44-year-old via Facebook that she realised he had more than 142,000 signatures – more than enough to raise the matter in Parliament.
The pair have now collaborated in their quest for CBD oil to be available on the NHS and have almost 200,000 signatures between them.
The mum-of-three has also arranged a meeting with Scottish health secretary Shona Robison, with her appeal now gathering momentum.
Mrs Gray said: “I am absolutely delighted. It is bizarre the way it has come about, but it is amazing news. It’s a massive step in the right direction.
“I’m worried about the impact Murray’s medication has had on him. In the past couple of months he looks like a different child. He has swollen so much and he gets out of breath just climbing up the stairs.
“We need CBD oil on the NHS as soon as possible and I’d like to thank everyone who has supported both campaigns.”
Mr Keeney has undergone five operations in the past ten months since his diagnosis, including two amputations of his penis.
He has been taking CBD oil at his own expense, costing around £600 a month for a 100ml bottle.
He said: “The cost of the oil prices so many people such as Karen out of getting the treatment. Realistically that is like another mortgage.
“There are so many benefits to taking CBD oil and it is brilliant that we have two countries now fighting to have it made available on the NHS.”
Christine Jardine, Lib Dem MP for Edinburgh West, said: “It’s clear from the amount of support that the public recognises the need for cannabis oil. Murray is a tragic example of a person who could benefit in a change in the law. Paul is a different person who is wanting the same outcome and I’m so pleased Murray and Karen have got more support.”
Sign the petition at www.change.org/p/parliament-make-cannabis-oil-thc-cbd-legal-and-available-on-the-nhs