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Amy Dawn Bourlon-Hilterbran

An American Medical Refugee Family

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Amy has a family of three sons, Austin, Nathaniel, and Freeman, and her husband, Jason. Five years ago, her family moved from their home in Oklahoma to Colorado in an attempt to save her son’s life. “Austin has been on cannabis medicine for 5 years now. In 2012, the doctors gave him two years to live because of the damage the pharmaceuticals had done. He is still alive almost 8 years later, no longer has kidney or liver damage and lives almost seizure free because of his daily medical cannabis regimen.” Even though Austin has lived longer than they were told and has gained some quality of life, the family has encountered many challenges along their journey.

“We were giving up everything on the hope and prayer that a plant would save our son. It cost us friends; we had threats from strangers, online bullying…we couldn’t believe it. All we were trying to do was save our son. We were doing what we thought any parent would do: whatever it takes to save our child. We had a lot of doubters–us included. We had no idea if it would work. We didn’t believe wholeheartedly in the plant then, like we do now. Now, we KNOW. Now, we tell people, ‘cannabis saved our son’s life’ because it has. Not only does it prevent seizures, it stops them when he does have a breakthrough seizure. Cannabis saved our son’s life after a decade of  varying pharmaceuticals couldn’t.”

My thoughts on cannabis now are simple: end prohibition; let the cannabis plant save lives and positively impact our world.

Amy has consumed cannabis throughout her life. However, her husband does not consume cannabis and is a former fireman. She says, “We have a unique household dynamic. It wasn’t until my research on cannabis and its potential use for seizures that I considered it ‘medicine.’ My thoughts prior to that were simple. It’s a plant and man’s law should never outlaw God’s creation. I also thought it was a great injustice to our veterans to force them to choose pills over a plant after serving our country. When I started researching cannabis as a medicine, I learned very quickly that it had medicinal value and certainly should be a legal, accessible option for anyone who needs it. So I have fought for the end of cannabis prohibition every day since.”

“Austin is doing amazing. He will never escape his disease, Dravet Syndrome, the catastrophic form of epilepsy. Before cannabis, Austin was on numerous pharmaceuticals that never stopped his seizures, had hideous side effects, and did damage to his organs.” The family was able to wean him off pharmaceuticals. “It took us 10 months, and some of the withdrawals were dangerous, but THC drops helped him make it through. We also utilize THC solely when stopping his seizures, either through drops, suppositories, or intranasal spray.”

“His success has come from utilizing the whole plant (a higher THC strain), THCa, THC, and CBN for his dystonia. Doctors initially were skeptical. We were in Children’s Hospital with Austin on life support after a cold sent him into seizures and the local hospital administered Ativan and refused to let me give him his cannabis. By the time we were transported to Children’s, Austin had a collapsed lung, the other full of fluid, unresponsive with his vitals crashing, and the doctors were preparing us for the worst.

I can remember being in the room, hearing doctors talking about which pharmaceutical to give him next to try and stop the seizures, and I screamed, ‘You’re going to kill my son – PLEASE STOP – PLEASE STOP – he was recently weaned off pharmaceuticals after a decade of daily use, his heart can’t take anymore, his body can’t take anymore – if you do this, my son will die.’ I was literally begging for my son’s life. Thank God the doctors listened (my husband and I are both licensed medical professionals), and they intubated him, giving him more time to get the Ativan out of his system. We worked hand-in-hand with the hospital leaders and board to get official policy for administration of cannabis medicine accepted. I was able to administer Austin’s cannabis medicine to him, in front of doctors, neurologists, nurses, and they were able to see–before their own eyes–when I would administer his cannabis, that it would stop his seizures. They saw firsthand that after 2 days with his cannabis medicine, Austin was able to be removed from the machines and breathe on his own, after pharmaceuticals had not helped him but caused him harm. We didn’t just change hospital policy, we changed hearts and minds and have had the respect and support from them ever since. Before cannabis, Austin was on varying pharmaceuticals, and still would have hundreds of seizures every day, in addition to the hideous pharmaceutical side effects. Now that Austin is a cannabis patient, he is no longer on pharmaceuticals that were shutting down his organs, his kidneys and liver have completely recovered, and we live with days, weeks, sometimes months with NO seizures at all.”

Now the entire family utilizes hemp products for wellness. She says both her other sons previously had seizures but have not had any at all since starting cannabis. She also uses her own organically grown cannabis medicine and gifts legal amounts to veterans and local cancer patients in need. “I am a cancer survivor (cervical), had seizures, and also utilize cannabis for PTSD and pain. Additionally, we make whole plant suppositories from high-THC cannabis, and I use hemp and CBD to make my own lotions and salves for our family and AMR (American Medical Refugees) patients. Our dogs also enjoy homemade hemp treats.”

Amy was part of a public service ad that was rejected air time during the 2019 Super Bowl. She says, “At first, it was disappointing, but when the ad went uber viral across the globe in minutes, we knew that our message and our family’s story was making an impact far greater than we had ever dreamed. People all over the world, billions of people, were learning that cannabis IS a medicine and that it saved our son’s life.” To help share education and awareness, Amy started a social media campaign to share the message about patent number 6630507 that the U.S. government holds on cannabinoids. “There are numerous patents that prove cannabis is medicinal and should be removed from the Controlled Substances Act, but this patent, which is held by several different arms of the U.S. government, also proves that cannabis is nontoxic and nonlethal in its natural form.”

His success has come from utilizing the whole plant (a higher THC strain), THCa, THC, and CBN for his dystonia. 

Amy and her husband founded the non-profit American Medical Refugees. “AMR hosts monthly events that are free to cannabis patients and their families who have relocated from another state or country to legally access medicine.” Amy’s experience as a medical refugee has driven her mission to help others. “People don’t realize that AMR families are moving out of desperation, many have been told by doctors there is nothing more that can be done (our family was one of those). Many of these patients, these children, are terminal, are fighting–literally–to stay alive another day.”

Amy continues to share her story and education. She founded Millennium Grown, which primarily hosted events for AMR, veterans, and the VIP’s of the cannabis industry, but also produced the world premiere showing of the documentary “The Legend of 420” in Denver. She is now producing a multi-state rollout of expos, starting with the Oklahoma Cannabis Expo, March 22-24, 2020 in Oklahoma City. Amy says she is collaborating with the hemp and cannabis industries’ finest to bring an interactive, invaluable resource for patients, entrepreneurs, and investors alike. “To bring the OCE to our home state is truly one of the greatest honors of my life.” 

Amy says she and her husband have both changed their minds. “He didn’t think marijuana should be legal at all, now he sees it as a medicine and a nonlethal recreational option. As a fireman, he saw first hand the destruction of the opioid epidemic and has done a complete 180 on where he stands about the cannabis plant. In his mind–and in fact–it is a safer option than most if not all the prescribed drugs, nicotine, and alcohol. My thoughts on cannabis now are simple: end prohibition; let the cannabis plant save lives and positively impact our world. In addition to its use as medicine and food, there are so many uses for it industrially, so many potentials as it requires less water to grow, is stronger, and more sustainable than cotton. I believe in my heart that cannabis, hemp, marijuana, weed, ganja, pot–whatever you want to call it–I believe that the potential in this plant could save lives, help our planet, and bring healthier, happier moments to people across the globe. I believe it in my soul, I live it daily.”

www.americanmedicalrefugees.com
www.oklahomacannabisexpo.com

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