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Tyrone child first in the north to be prescribed medicinal cannabis

Billy Caldwell and mother Charlotte on their 150 mile cannabis walk, which ended on Wednesday at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast
Gareth McKeown

A Tyrone child with severe epilepsy will become the first child in the north to be prescribed medicinal cannabis to help treat his life-threatening seizures.

Billy Caldwell (11), from Castlederg, will receive the cannabis oil treatment on prescription after months of campaigning from his mother Charlotte.

This work culminated in the pair completing a mammoth 150-mile charity walk on Wednesday. The eight-day trek, which started in Castlederg, passing through towns and villages in Northern Ireland, ended at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, where mother Charlotte met with a clinician from the Belfast Trust.

"The main thing from the meeting is the clinician has agreed to continue Billy's treatment on medicinal cannabis, which is a huge thing for Northern Ireland and for Billy," a delighted Charlotte said.

"This is a genuine medicine that this wee boy needs to keep him alive and I'm just over the moon. It also opens the doors for a lot more families out there in need."

Mrs Caldwell said that the Belfast Trust have also agreed to work with her son's medical team in America to create a pathway to bring Billy home indefinitely.

Last month the child returned home from Los Angeles after six months of cannabis oil treatment to control his life-threatening seizures. Today he is 57 days seizure-free thanks to the use of medicinal cannabis.

A spokesperson from the Belfast Trust said that the clinical team in the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children will "continue to work closely with the Caldwell family to provide the best possible care for Billy".

"However for the protection of patients we cannot discuss an individual’s care or treatment," they added.

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