Irish mum and sick son left homeless in LA over mounting medical bills
A Northern Ireland mother and her ill son have been left homeless in America where he is receiving specialist treatment- as they struggle to pay for his medical bills.
Eleven-year-old Billy Caldwell from Castlederg suffers from a life-threatening form of epilepsy that has seen him endure daily seizures that turn him blue and don't stop unless he immediately gets medication and wears an oxygen mask.
He has been prescribed medicinal cannabis containing the cannabinoids Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is illegal in Northern Ireland.
For the past number of months he's been in Los Angeles with his mother Charlotte, receiving the treatment.
They had raised cash to get him there and he had been free from the seizures since starting the drug.
However, at the end of January he was hospitalised after suffering a serious seizure.
After he was discharged mum Charlotte has told how she had to make an "horrendous" decision that due to Billy's unforeseen hospitalisation they now have huge medical costs to pay, alongside the specialist treatment, which has left them with no funds to keep their accomodation.
On Sunday Billy's mum took to Facebook to say their situation was now "critical" in LA.
Charlotte has bought a tent, camping cooker and sleeping bags to help them survive.
She said: "To date we have raised enough funds to part pay these costs.
"Leaving us with no funds to sustain our accommodation here in LA.
"My priority as Billy's mummy is to keep his life saving treatment going. I have to keep Billy alive.
"On that note , something has to give
"I have no other choice or option but to forfeit our accommodation so as I can continue to sustain my wee epilepsy warrior's medical needs.
"Believe me folks, it is with a heavy heart and tears in my eyes I am writing this post.
"I have appealed to our health minister, but no response.
"Yesterday me and Billy went and bought a tent, camping cooker, sleeping bags etc to equip ourselves for the unthinkable, homeless in LA.
"Please folks keep us in your prayers as we embark on what is going to be most likely our toughest journey yet."
Since appealing on Facebook fellow Northern Irish people living in LA have offered to try and help the family.
But Charlotte hopes that the public will keep supporting her and Billy as they try to overcome the latest challenge.
The Northern Ireland Health Department is aware of the situation and has been contacted for comment.
The family's fundraising campaign can be found here.