ALFIE Dingley could soon get the medical cannabis he desperately needs to control his life-threatening epilepsy after meeting Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday (March 21.
The family of the Kenilworth youngster took their fight to Downing Street on Wednesday where they handed in a 380,000 signature petition urging the government to allow the six-year-old access to cannabis oil to treat his rare genetic disorder. Known as PCDH19, it affects just nine children in the world, causing catastrophic clusters of seizures which are unresponsive to anti-epilepsy drugs.
The family moved to Holland in September so the youngster could legally take the oil which dramatically changed Alfie’s life, cutting his seizures down from up to 30 a day to just once a month.
But after being forced to move back home due to dwindling funds and difficulty getting medical insurance, the government denied a plea to grant Alfie a licence to use cannabis oil.
Star of stage and screen Sir Patrick Stewart, who himself uses medicinal cannabis to treat arthritis, Virgin tycoon Richard Branson, and Absolutely Fabulous star Joanna Lumley have all backed Alfie’s campaign.
And the family has now been told by the government if Alfie’s doctor applies for a licence for cannabis oil ministers would consider it as a matter of urgency.
Mum Hannah, writing on Alfie’s Facebook page after the visit, said: “Thank you to each and every one of you who wrote an email to your MP asking them to visit us in London.
“We had a huge cross party turn out which was amazing and so much support and common sense being spoken.
“We took the petition to Downing Street and we were surprised to be invited in. We met with Sir Mike Penning, minister (Nick) Hurd and the Prime Minister came to see Alfie and assured us we would find a resolution with minister Hurd.
“We have now been told that if our doctor applies for a license on compassionate grounds that they will expedite the process as quickly as possible. They can not assure us of the outcome which is frustrating but legally they can’t however we hope very much so that the outcome will be favourable as we have so much influential support now and also proven by doing the trial in Holland that Alfie needs this medicine desperately.
“Thank you so much for your support. We still need to keep the pressure up until we actually get this license but we have moved closer to our goal.”
Sir Patrick – known for screen roles in films such as X-Men and Star Trek, and an RSC Associate Actor, and a regular on the stage in Stratford – uses medicinal cannabis to treat his arthritis while living in California.
He said: “How could one not support Alfie? Hearing what his life has been and the benefits given to him by being able to use medicinal marijuana. “There has never been a stronger case for the legalisation of medical marijuana.
“I have been registered for medical marijuana in California for over three years and have found it immensely beneficial for my arthritis.
“I had to have eight steroid injections in my fingers and knuckles, which was about as painful as anything one could imagine, because medicinal cannabis is not available here.”
Search Alfie’s Hope on Facebook to find out more.