Sunday 24 September 2017

Mother organises festival to celebrate 'miracle' boy who is 300 days seizure-free after cannabis oil treatment

Billy Caldwell with his mother Charlotte
Billy Caldwell with his mother Charlotte

Kathy Armstrong

A young boy who once suffered up to 30 potentially fatal seizures a month hasn't had one in over 300 days and his family are celebrating by hosting a festival to raise awareness about the positive effects of cannabis oil.

Billy Caldwell (11) has incurable intractable and status epilepsy, which cannot be controlled through medicine or diet and he cannot come out of seizures himself without rescue medicine and oxygen.

When he was a baby his parents were told to bring him home to die but his condition improved greatly after he spent two years getting specialist treatment in the US, before returning home in 2009, his mum Charlotte says the seizures "returned with a vengeance" in 2016.

Charlotte says she was a "desperate mummy" when she brought him back to the US last year, where he started receiving cannabis oil treatment.

After nine months there he was allowed home to Tyrone and his prescription was transferred to his local GP, he is now seizure free and has even had a cannabis oil named after him, Billy's Bud.

Charlotte says she can't believe how different things are for them now compared to a year ago.

Charlotte with Billy
Charlotte with Billy

The devoted mum said: "Billy is doing absolutely incredible, he's improving every week and making progress.

"I never anticipated a year ago that he would even be still here today so I'm feeling really good and positive."

Charlotte, who lives in Crew Bridge in Castlderg, told Independent.ie that she is hosting a festival at her house next Saturday, September 9 to celebrate.

She said: "After Billy got his first prescription for CBD oil we had so many families calling us for help and information.
"We just felt we should bring them together, there's going to be a big indoor market with over 50 stalls selling things like CBD oil, organic food and crafts.

"There will be games, bouncing castles and face-painters for the kids, there's going to be buskers during the day and DJs at night and there's four food trucks coming so hopefully we'll have something for everyone.

"Plus we'll have doctors and politicians attending on the day and we really hope to educate people about the benefits of CBD oil."

A poster for the Billy's Bud Festival
A poster for the Billy's Bud Festival

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CBD oil is able to help ease the symptoms of a variety of conditions, including chronic pain and epilepsy.

The Caldwells have set up the Billy's Bud charity to help other people avail of cannabis oil, which can be used as a food supplement.

Charlotte said: "Every penny raised during the festival will be used to help sponsor someone from a low-income family to avail of CBD oil.

"It doesn't matter if you're from the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland or the UK, if you fill out the assessment form on our website it will be sent to our independent committee to review."

The event has been organised with the help of groups including the Cannabis Collective UK, Legalise Cannabis Oil Northern Ireland and the Belfast Cannabis Club, who Charlotte said she "cannot thank enough."

Read More: Irish start-up secures €500k funding to explore medical benefits of cannabis

The Billy's Bud CBD oil
The Billy's Bud CBD oil

So far over 600 people have signed up to camp at the event and Charlotte admits she's blown away by the response.

She said: "We thought this would be a small event but that 600 doesn't even include all of those who are just going to come during the day and not camp.

"We're completely overwhelmed and I'm so excited about the event.

"We want to say a big thank you to all the doctors, politicians and people in both Northern Ireland and the south who have supported us and are standing with us.

"We're hoping if we all work together then we can help push this forward."

For more information about Billy's Bud please visit here.

To donate and sponsor a bud please visit here.

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