The big brother of Castlederg 11-year-old Billy Caldwell, who is in Los Angeles with his mother, Charlotte, awaiting treatment for life-threatening epilepsy, will run a 300 mile loop of the North over the next two weeks as part of a campaign to have medicinal cannabis legalised here.
Kyle Caldwell will carry Billy’s bodyweight on his back on what he’s calling, “Billy’s Cannabus Run”, which will take in Dungiven, Claudy, Drumahoe, Derry, Newbuildings, Magheramason, Bready, Ballymagorry, and Strabane, during an epic marathon around the North.
Speaking to the ‘Journal’ from the United States, Charlotte explained that she was still waiting on a decision from specialists on whether or not they can operate on Billy, who suffers from severe ‘intractable epilepsy’ that she fears may one day kill her son.
But in a new development, Ms Caldwell said Billy has been on a course of medicinal cannabis, which, she says, has achieved remarkable results.
“In the meantime he is on medicinal cannabis. Normally Billy would experience seven to nine life-threatening seizures in the space of a week. He’s now on day 15 and he hasn’t had one,” she said.
Ms Caldwell said she has been astounded by the reduction in seizures and that having raised Billy over the past 11 years the transformation over the past fortnight has been incredible.
“His wee personality is starting to come out, there is a wee twinkle in his eye, he is becoming more aware of his surroundings and less imbalanced, eating more and becoming more mischievous,” she said.
However, Ms Caldwell said that the medical team in LA have informed her that even after Billy has surgery he will still require epilepsy medication for at least two years, in order to make sure he is seizure free.
She wants this medication to be the cannabis, which, she says, has been serving him so well so far. She doesn’t want Billy to become a “marijuana refugee”, as she told the ‘Journal’.
So big brother Kyle will set off on his fraternal journey on Friday.
“En route I will be delivering Billy’s Santa letter to our Health Minister, along with a request from Billy to urgently fund his life-saving treatment in Los Angeles and to ‘Urgently Legalise Medicinal Cannabis’, so he can come home safely,” said Kyle.
He added: “Any of you guys that want to come run with me for an hour , a day, whatever and help raise much needed funds for Billy’s life-saving treatment and awareness of his plight, you will all be more than welcome.”
Contribute to the ‘Keep Billy Alive’ campaign at https://www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/just4children/keepbillyalive2 or text Keep81 to 70070