Monday 17 June 2019

Pain-free Christmas for Asseel thanks to local generosity

Fundraiser enables boy (4) to travel to Spain for emergency medication for seizures

Asseel Osman sitting upright after THC oil treatment.
Asseel Osman sitting upright after THC oil treatment.

David Looby

The generosity of the people of New Ross have spared sick local boy Asseel Osman a Christmas and start to 2019 in agony.

More than €3,300 was raised for Asseel at a fundraising night in The Green Door pub, enabling him to travel to Spain with his parents Mahad and Zara on St Stephen's Day to get more THC, a medicinal drug which prevents his painful seizures.

Asseel's medicinal drug supply - which his father Mahad bought in Spain in the autumn - was due to run out Christmas week.

The cost of three months supply of the medicinal drug can come to almost €6,000 if obtained through registered doctors in Holland, but can be sourced for much cheaper on the black market in Barcelona, where Mahad, his wife Zara and Asseel have travelled to.

Mahad and Zara want to ensure their son is getting the best medical assistance possible so he can progress in his life.

Asseel suffers from cerebral palsy and epilepsy and his family are desperately fighting for his right to proper healthcare. Despite being the first child in Ireland to use medicinal cannabis, he is still without a licence.

People Before Profit's Susan Breen, who has been campaigning for Asseel's parents to get the cannabis oil for their son, helped organise the fundraising night.

Local band Trinity played a great gig and told the packed pub about Asseel and his condition. Numerous prizes were donated by local businesses and some large donations were made on the night.

Susan said: 'Words cannot express how grateful we are for the unbelievable generosity shown over the last few days. Thank you so much to everyone who supported our fundraiser, sponsored prizes, bought tickets and made donations. We made a staggering €3,380!'

Separately around €200 has been donated to a HopeforAsseel GoFundMe page.

Susan said there was a fantastic festive atmosphere in the bar, where the prizes were on show along the counter.

Mahad and some of his close friends were in attendance, but he couldn't stay long as he had to get back home to help Zara change and mind Asseel.

'The donations made their Christmas. I called over with the money and Zara was just overwhelmed, not because of the money, but in terms of the level of support they got. It just means so much to them and showed great Christmas spirit from everyone.'

Susan said Mahad and Zara were very stressed as the THC oil was about to run out. 'Asseel would have had to endure a Christmas in agony and absolute torment.

When he was taken off the cannabis oil after he got it in Germany he was so ill - having seizures for 72 hours. He has come on so much since he's started taking the oil again and is able to sit upright and travel. Not being able to sit creates all kinds of problems for him.'

Asseel has been seen by a consultant, who has access to all of his medical files and has been on Skype calls with the family to monitor his progress since first taking the oil in the autumn.

'Thanks to you amazing people, Asseel has access to the next prescription for his life changing medicine. This little star has had his whole world opened up all thanks to a few drops of THC every few hours. If Zara and Mahad could not continue his treatment Asseel would have been forced back into a hell of seizures, no sleep, constant discomfort and absolutely no quality of life. For now, his treatment can continue, but we cannot permanently depend on your generosity, Asseel desperately needs his licence,' Susan said, calling on health minister Simon Harris to 'make it happen' by ensuring Asseel gets his medicinal cannabis licence so he will no longer have to travel abroad for his medicine. 'Where the system has failed Asseel community has rallied and we thank you all from the bottom of our hearts.'

New Ross Standard