12 years ago, in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, when Charlotte Caldwell gave birth to her son. Circumstances quickly changed when four months and hundreds of epileptic seizures later, Billy was diagnosed with severe epilepsy. After no available seizure medications worked, then Billy was told to go home, when he wasn’t going to make it. Charlotte refused to accept the diagnosis and reached out to as many people as she could, to spread the word about Billy’s condition in order to raise money to treat him.
“Even though he was having all those seizures every single day and every single night. I knew in my heart of hearts that he was dying, it was only going to be a matter of time because of the severity and the frequency of the seizures,”
The fundraising proved successful, and mother and son were off to the United States to see an epilepsy doctor/specialist in Chicago. The treatment was able to stop seizures for 8 years. The pair returned home to Northern Ireland. His quality of life improved with the significantly reduced seizures Billy was fine until June 2016.
Dr. Nordli told Charlotte about cannabis oil, which over the past 2 years has managed to shrink the lesion. The cannabis oil contains both cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The CBD cannabis spectrum oil which can be bought legally in Northern Ireland has resulted in her little boy being seizure-free.
After much hassle, in 2017, Billy Caldwell became the first person prescribed medical marijuana on the NHS. Not long after, in May 2018, she went to renew the prescription and was told it would not be possible. Billy’s NHS doctor, Brendan O’Hare began writing the prescriptions. The doctor was then summoned to a meeting with Home Office officials and told to stop. Dr Brendan O’Hare said there is an ethical issue is not allowing Billy to have CBD.
In June 2018, Charlotte made an attempt to bring the medication and her son into the UK from Canada. She traveled around the world to get the medication necessary to keep her son alive. Billy’s CBD was confiscated by airport officials at Heathrow Airport. Billy began to again have multiple seizures per day. He was taken to the Chelsea and Westminster hospital on a Monday and the oil did not arrive until Saturday. His medication was only administered under a special 20-day license and is not allowed to be taken home. As of now, Billy’s mother’s fight continues.