An Edinburgh mother who wants her five-year-old son to receive medical cannabis to relieve his epilepsy seizures is set to hand a petition into Downing Street next week.
Karen Gray has been “overwhelmed” with the response to an online campaign she started last month which has now attracted 86,500 signatures, just 13,500 short of the amount required to trigger a debate at Westminster.
Mrs Gray is meeting with political activists from 38 Degrees who helped organise the petition on 27 April in London, when they hope the 100,000 target will have been met.
Her son Murray, aged five, is now having up to 50 absence and myoclonic seizures every hour, with consultants looking to place they youngster on a special high-fat ketogenic diet, which will involve him being fed through a tube in a bid to control his epilepsy.
Mrs Gray is flying out to Holland this weekend to look at the possibilities of bringing medical cannabis known as Cannabidiol back for her son. She said a GP was willing to write her a prescription to take over to The Hague, but this was pulled after consultants advised the doctor that they could face potential disciplinary action.
She said: “I’ve got 86,500 so far and we need 100,000 to trigger a debate in parliament.
“The people who are running the petition 38 Degrees are going to meet me down in London on the 27th to hand in the petition to Downing Street. So, we have to hit the 100,000 signature target by a week on Friday.
“It’s amazing how many signatures we’ve managed to gather in the short space of time since we started the petition. I’m really grateful to everyone who has signed it and provided support, hopefully this will make a difference.”
Mrs Gray has the support of her local MP Liberal Democrat Christine Jardine and MSP Alex-Cole Hamilton who both support her efforts to have medicinal cannabis made available on the NHS.
Murray was diagnosed with Myoclonic Astatic Epilepsy at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in December after suffering 12 seizures in one month. He is in hospital where he is taking five different types of medicine, including steroids, which doctors believe may control his spasms.
The case is similar to that of Alfie Dingley, six, from Kenilworth, Warwickshire, who has 20 to 30 seizures a day.
His family are campaigning to have cannabis oil made available for medical purposes and Home Office ministers are looking at the possibility of a drug trial to help him.
Mrs Gray added: “I’m absolutely certain the cannabis oil works and will benefit my son otherwise I wouldn’t be doing this. I wouldn’t waste my time.”