Before 2015, children in Delaware with serious illnesses couldn’t use medical marijuana. The Maedler family knew something had to change when their young daughter was diagnosed with a rare health condition. They found success in using marijuana oil to not only reduce her tumor, but also stop the seizures associated with surgical side effects.
Senate Bill 90 was introduced by Senator Lopez, and passed unanimously in the General Assembly, according to Smyrna-Clayton Sun-Times. The young girl, Riley, had a tumor that was destroying the bones in her face. Riley was diagnosed with central giant cell granuloma.
Senator Ernie Lopez said, “I think [the Maedlers] are courageous, amazing people. They’re emblematic of a lot of young families in this area that would do anything to help their kids.”
Riley’s mom, Janie, thought that she just had a blocked tear duct. At age 7, Riley was taken to the emergency room, doctors felt holes in the bones in her face. One quarter of Riley’s face deteriorated after an aggressive tumor was found. The Maedlers were told that Riley probably had late-stage cancer.
Doctors prepared the Maedlers to lose their daughter by telling the parents they’d do their best to “give her some time”. Once the doctors took Riley for an operation, they realized they didn’t really know what they were dealing with.
Riley said, “To be honest, I didn’t know what was wrong with me and I can’t remember when I found out. But half of my face was getting bigger and my eye was moving up. I think they told me, like, later, it would keep getting bigger and I could lose my hearing and vision. My mom told me once I could possibly, like, die, but it would take years to happen. I was really scared. I was crying and stuff.”
What causes central giant cell granuloma isn’t known.
Janie said, “It mimics cancer so well, even though it’s not malignant, it’s still life threatening. The difference is mainly that it can continue spreading but it can’t jump to, say, her leg or an organ.”
Multiple surgeries would be needed, along with chemotherapy, to treat Riley. When Janie was researching Riley’s condition, medical marijuana kept popping up in results.
Janie said, “It was the furthest thing from my mind. I grew up in a very religious home. I’ve never smoked or used cannabis, but it kept popping up. Whey they tell you that [your child may be fatally ill] … I mean, I would go to the moon and get a moon rock if it would help her.”
Janie was connected with a group of moms who’ve been using marijuana oil for their seriously ill children, not all of them were doing it legally, but the results were undeniable.
Janie said, “There were too many reasons to do it and not enough reasons not to. Just seeing Riley put her head down, this inner depression when she’d always been so happy. I couldn’t not give everything in the world for her. I couldn’t leave a stone unturned.”
In 2013, the Maedlers began breaking the law to treat Riley. The group that Janie was connected with was helping the family obtain the marijuana oil. Riley’s regimen started with 5mL of marijuana oil four times a day.
Surgeries to reduce the tumor took place, but then Riley started having seizures.
Riley said, “I didn’t care what [my mom] was giving me as long as it helped, and it did. It really helped with the pain and stuff. And without it, I would be, like, having seizures all the time. I probably wouldn’t be able to go to school, or even…um…yeah.”
Janie said, “We went from needing chemo, plastic surgery and all new teeth and to be on a liquid diet for many months to putting her on cannabis. Come to find out it shrunk [the tumor], maintained seizure control… and maintained her pain level. We never even had to touch narcotics. Her bones regenerated faster and better than anybody expected.”
2018 will mark 5 years with no tumor growth. Riley, and her parents, started advocating and started a non-profit organization to help other families and children. Riley is happy and healthy – she is preparing to start middle school all because of her strength and her parents’ willingness to break the law for a treatment that worked.