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Billy Caldwell: Mother says 'mummies, not the Home Office know best'

The 'Keep Billy Alive' rally outside Belfast city hall on Saturday. Photo by Alan Lewis, Photopress
Marie Louise McConville

THE mother of a severely epileptic Co Tyrone boy has called for a meeting with the home secretary within the next 24 hours.

Charlotte Caldwell, from Castlederg, said she wanted to meet both Sajid Javid and and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt "urgently" to discuss legalising a medical cannabis treatment for children with similar conditions.

Ms Caldwell's 12-year-old son, Billy was prescribed medicinal cannabis on the NHS in 2017 however in May this year, his GP was told he could no longer prescribe it.

Ms Caldwell had tried to bring in a fresh supply of the drug from Canada but it was confiscated at Heathrow airport last week.

In the aftermath, Billy's seizures "intensified" and he was hospitalised in London on Friday.

His mother said since he was given his medication he has not had any more seizures. He is due to be officially discharged from Chelsea and Westminster Hospital today.

Ms Caldwell said today: "Billy is vastly improved. He has not so far had a single seizure since his anti epileptic medication was returned and administered. This is testament to the effectiveness of the treatment, and that mummies and not the Home Office know best.

"We must meet with Jeremy Hunt as soon as possible."

Earlier, she said she wanted to meet the politicians "to get assurance that not only will Billy's meds never again be removed, but to call for an urgent review of the overall policy on medical cannabis as it affects everyone who could benefit."

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The Co Tyrone mother said while her son was on the medication, he was seizure-free for more than 300 days.

On Saturday, after coming under increasing pressure, Mr Javid gave permission for one of the bottles of cannabis oil confiscated by airport officials to be released.

It was then given to Billy at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital under a special 20-day licence.

He is banned from taking the remedy at home.

Charlotte Caldwell and her son Billy at Heathrow Airport after having a supply of cannabis oil used to treat his severe epilepsy confiscated on their return from Canada. Photo by Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

On Saturday, a 'Keep Billy Alive' rally took place outside Belfast city in support of Charlotte and Billy Caldwell and their fight to legalise medicinal cannabis.

Speaking yesterday, Ms Caldwell said: "I want nobody in Government, and nobody who has been impacted by massively outdated laws, to be under any impression that this is job done. This is just the start.

"The energy we've brought to Billy's campaign is nothing compared to what we are prepared to unleash to drive complete reform," she said.

"The Home Secretary has seen the momentum that has built up in support of Billy.

"The biggest thing senior Ministers can do is to demonstrate power is not about saying no, it's about saying yes, and having the strength of character to recognise that ego and outdated laws do not outweigh the real-world needs of desperately ill children whose parents know best because they live it every second of every minute of every day."

The 'Keep Billy Alive' rally outside Belfast city hall on Saturday. Photo by Alan Lewis, Photopress

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