AN event organised by the Keep Billy Alive campaign to discuss the virtues of medicinal cannabis has been cancelled following the collapse of the Assembly.
The ‘Billy’s Law’ medicinal cannabis education seminar was scheduled to take place on January 30 in the Long Gallery in Parliament Buildings, hosted by People Before Profit’s Eamonn McCann.
The seminar was seen as an opportunity for politicians to hear how the drug is the last remaining hope for Billy Caldwell, who is currently reaping its benefits in Los Angeles.
Numerous other epilepsy sufferers and those with a variety of other illnesses who believe they would benefit from both CBD and THC oils – components of cannabis – had planned to be in attendance.
However speaking from America on Wednesday morning, Charlotte Caldwell couldn’t contain her frustration and disappointment that Billy will remain exiled thousands of miles from home while the politicians “argue and bicker”.
“My family are out on the streets begging with buckets to fund Billy’s treatment and give him a chance of life, while they are literally burning money in Stormont,” said Charlotte. “I am absolutely disgusted at what is going on.”
Billy is receiving both CBD and THC which is illegal in Northern Ireland. The epilepsy specialists in America hope that the oil will help reduce the size of the lesion in Billy’s brain, which is the cause of his life-threatening epilepsy seizures, so as to allow safe surgery. Currently it is so large, surgery to remove it would require taking out an entire lobe, taking away the 11-year-old’s memory and communication abilities.
After surgery Billy would be required to remain on medicinal cannabis for a minimum of two years thus returning home without a legislation change by the Assembly would be impossible.
“The collapse of Stormont means the chance to debate this vital issue for so many families is delayed, never mind moving towards changing legislation to bring us home,” said Charlotte.
“For too long the debate in Northern Ireland has centred around the orange and green, while children like Billy and so many others are suffering.
“They are the real casualties of the failures of the politicians.
“Billy’s condition is a brutal diagnoses for any wee child to deal with and a brutal condition for any parent to watch, but with the help of CBD/THC and hopefully brain surgery, I am hopeful he will overcome it and one day return home safely, with or without the support of our politicians.”
Billy is expected to have an updated brain scan in early March to see if their prayers have been answered and see if the cannabis oil is reducing the size of the lesion in Billy’s brain to allow safe surgery.
Since the Keep Billy Alive campaign was launched in July, over £120,000 of the £300,000 has been raised. This includes £15,000 raised by Kyle Moore’s 350 mile, 12-day run around Northern Ireland with the 20kg weight of his brother Billy on his back.
To donate text Keep81 to 70070 or donate online at the links provided on the Keep Billy Alive Facebook page.