A doting mother whose 12-year-old son has fought a decade-long cancer battle is campaigning for a class-B drug to be legalised to treat the deadly disease.
Sarah Nicholson, from Amble, has made the impassioned call for cannabis oil to be allowed in the UK for medicinal purposes.
I’m a great believer in using cannabis oil for medicinal purposes – I am 110 per cent sure that it can cure cancer.Sarah Nicholson
The mum-of-two has issued the heartfelt plea after seeing her brave lad Brandon Ballance endure a long-running fight with cancer, having been diagnosed with an inoperable brain-stem tumour when he was just two.
Nicknamed The Champ by his loved ones, the plucky youngster has suffered a tough ordeal, including rigorous bouts of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
And while a recent scan in December showed his tumour is stable, Sarah admits she would like to use cannabis oil to treat Brandon if things take a turn for the worse.
It comes amid growing evidence that the drug can play a crucial role in treating cancer patients by helping stem the growth of malignant tumours and dramatically reducing the side-effects of chemotherapy.
Sarah, 37, said: “I’m a great believer in using cannabis oil for medicinal purposes – I am 110 per cent sure that it can cure cancer. I would like it to be the next step for Brandon if he ever relapsed because there is so much evidence about it working.
“I want to spread awareness about it and will continue to do so until it is legalised. I am not just pushing this because of Brandon, but to help others with cancer.”
One of the recent success stories has been told by Paul Ryder, who is a founder member of Manchester band Happy Mondays, who says the drug has been life-changing for his cancer-stricken son, Chico.
The youngster – who is from Los Angeles, where cannabis oil can be legally consumed – took the alternative therapy to counter the side-effects of chemotherapy for a soft tissue cancer, with remarkable success. Now in remission, he still takes it daily to prevent the rare condition returning.
Meanwhile, American actress Whoopi Goldberg said that she uses cannabis to treat her glaucoma and recently announced that she is an advocate for paediatric medical marijuana for sick children.
The United Patients’ Alliance is also urging the UK Government to recognise the medical benefits of cannabis and end the practice of criminalising those using the class-B drug in an effort to improve their health.
Although doctors can prescribe the drug to named cancer patients to treat nausea and vomiting, the possession of cannabinoid – the active chemicals found in cannabis – is prohibited under UK law and can carry a prison sentence.
Sarah, who lives in Links Avenue and also has eight-year-old daughter Sienna, said: “People think that cannabis is just there for people to get stoned, but I believe that it is so beneficial for medical use and one day I hope it becomes legalised over here.
“It is such a shame that people have to break the law to save their own life – it is awful.
“When it comes to children, it should be up to the parents how they treat their child, but they don’t get a choice and I think that is all wrong.”
Despite fighting a 10-year cancer battle, Brandon has been resilient and recently reached a major milestone; starting high school in Amble.
In 2011, the youngster managed to fulfil his dream of swimming with dolphins, thanks to a massive public fund-raising camapign which helped pay for a magical trip to America.