Monday 20 November 2017

Mother of toddler with severe epilepsy fundraising to take 20-month-old son to US for cannabis oil treatment

Emma Jane Hade

Emma Jane Hade

The mother of a toddler who is living with a severe form of epilepsy is fundraising to take her young son to the States for cannabis oil treatment.

Yvonne Cahalane lives in Cork with her husband John and their young sons, Oscar (3) and 20-month-old Tristan.

Little Tristan was diagnosed with Dravet syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy, shortly after he was born. 

The little boy could experience up to 20 seizures a day according to his mother, and many of these are “drop seizures”. 

Yvonne Cahalane and family
Yvonne Cahalane and family

“He gets a lot of bloody noses,” she added.

After “constant research” into the condition, different foundations and discussions with other parents, Yvonne and her family came to the conclusion that the cannabis oil would give their son much relief.

“We have a neurologist that has agreed to take Tristan on in the US and that’s what we are fundraising for.

“It will depend on the neurologist but he will need it for life.  They will find the correct dosage for his condition, age, seizure types…it’s a very slow process getting to the correct dose. 

“From that then they will take away some of the medications he is on because he is on six, which is a huge amounts for a 20-month-old,” she said.

The cannabis oil will be administered in orally and she expects to stay in the US with Tristan for up to a year. 

They are hoping to fundraise €35,000 to go towards the costs. 

“We are probably underestimating ourselves but that’s as much as we are asking for.  Anything more than that, we will try to cover ourselves,” she added.

Yvonne said she understands some parents may criticise her decision, but said she has done “so much research” that they are “really educated on it at this stage”.

“We wouldn’t have gone down this road if it wasn’t a last resort and great option for him,” Ms Cahalane added.

“We are going to Colorado when the funds are there and when Tristan is stable enough to go.”

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