A LOVING mum handed a petition in to Downing Street yesterday in a bid to trigger a parliamentary debate that would see medical cannabis available on the NHS to treat her young son’s epilepsy seizures.
Karen Gray, from East Craigs, travelled to London where she met with her local MP Christine Jardine and activists from 38 degrees before making her way to Number 10.
The mum-of-three has collected an incredible 170,000 signatures on her petition to help five-year-old Murray, a p1 pupil at Clermiston Primary School, receive medical cannabis, known as Cannabidiol (CBD).
Murray, who is in and out of the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, has been having up to 12 big seizures a day due to a rare form of epilepsy. He has been placed on a special ketogenic diet by doctors in the hope this helps but has so far rejected the food, leaving Karen at her wits’ end and relying on the potential for CBD to be approved.
She said: “I think it’s brilliant that we managed to get so many signatures, the support has been amazing.
“It’s great that people have been willing to sign a petition to help Murray. My son has spent years of his young life in hospital. There is an effective treatment that could give him his childhood back. To know it’s out there, but is being blocked by the Westminster government is heartbreaking. It’s simply common sense – if a treatment works we should let our NHS provide it. I want to see the process speeded up and I understand that we have to make sure it’s safe.
“However, we grow cannabis and export it in this country for other people to use, so if it isn’t safe – why are we exporting it? Surely it has been tested enough, so we know it’s safe and we need to give it to Murray and other children like him who are suffering from epilepsy seizures.”
Murray was diagnosed with Myoclonic Astatic Epilepsy (MAE) at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in December after suffering 12 seizures in one month. He is currently in hospital where he is taking five different types of medicine, including steroids, to control his spasms.
The case is similar to that of Alfie Dingley, six, from Kenilworth, Warwickshire, who has 20 to 30 seizures a day. His family is campaigning to have cannabis oil made available for medical purposes and Home Office ministers are looking at the possibility of a drug trial to help him.
Karen added: “The ketogenic diet is not going so well, he ate it on Monday night but never ate it for the rest of the week. I ended up just giving him something else, he’s going through enough and I don’t want to have to force-feed my son.
“I don’t think this diet is going to work and I feel like it should be a last resort – he should be getting medical cannabis first before he has to change his lifestyle.”
Scottish Lib Dems MP Christine Jardine said: “I’m delighted for Karen and Murray that they have reached this target with such fantastic support. I will do everything to ensure we have another parliamentary debate and that cannabidoil treatments are available to those whose lives they could change for the better.”