Actor Sir Patrick Stewart, who himself fights arthritis pain with medicinal cannabis, yesterday joined the family of Alfie Dingley on the steps of 10 Downing St. in England. 6-year old Alfie has a rare form of epilepsy that causes up to 150 potentially life-threatening seizures every month. The only remedy that has worked? Cannabis oil.
Alfie's family is fighting for their child's access to the life changing substance which gives him an escape from a rare form of childhood epilepsy called PCDH19. Due to his ailment, Alfie experiences up to 30 fits a day and once had 3,000 seizures and 48 hospital visits in the space of just a year. Nothing helped until, after being prescribed cannabis oil in the Netherlands, Alfie went 27 days without a seizure. Unfortunately, his family couldn't remain there and, upon returning home to the UK, their application for a license to use cannabis was rejected by a government which deems medicinal cannabis illegal.
Still, the family is continuing to fight for access to a treatment option which has proven effective for their child. They have rallied the support of hundreds of thousands of UK citizens, many members of parliament, and celebrities such as Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Richard Branson.
Sir Stewart, who yesterday helped the family bring forward a petition with almost 400,000 signatures, commented on the case, saying “There has never been a stronger case for the legalisation of medical marijuana.” The government’s reaction to the petition has not been released yet.