About Us

Advocates

Judy Ghanem

 

My 11-year-old daughter, Kira, was born with an extremely rare duplication on the short arm of chromosome 16, tethered cord syndrome and autism. She is severely delayed across the board with an extremely short attention span and aggressive behavior outbursts. After being on anti-psychotic medication for several years she began involuntary movements of her mouth, which may have become permanent due to the medication.

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Whole plant CBD oil has made possible for Kira to participate in group settings without causing harm to herself or friends, but we understand that if she had full access to all the cannabis plant she could possibly have a more complete quality of life. That is why we are fighting for a comprehensive Medical Cannabis bill in South Carolina for her and others that can benefit from this healing plant.

 

David Newsom

 

I am a 39-year-old U.S. Army Veteran and father of four children.  I joined the Army following a family tradition of military service.  After getting out of the Army my family and I moved from Alaska, which was my last duty station, to Myrtle Beach. My youngest daughter Harmony Newsom was born in Myrtle Beach. Unfortunately, she was born with a very rare genetic condition called Lissencephaly.

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The outside of her brain is completely smooth, this condition is also referred to as smooth brain.  When she was 3 years old we almost lost her due to her brain staying in a constant state of seizure. That’s when we started researching Cannabis treatment. I am not and never have been a cannabis user and at first was very turned off at the idea of treating my child with what I thought was something that was only used for recreational purposes.  But then after months of research and talking with other patients in legal states I felt comfortable that this was a viable option to treat Harmony’s condition with.  Currently she is using a hemp derived CBD product as that is what is legal to obtain and we have regained seizure control however we understand that if she was able to have access to a comprehensive medical cannabis program we could ultimately continue to improve her quality of life.

Chelsea Cook Hurst

 

My father passed away in 2012 after living with prostate cancer for nearly 5 years. I am now his voice, and I am advocating for medicinal marijuana after seeing how much it helped him in his last year. I vividly remember watching my father cry one day because he felt like he was sinning in Gods eyes for possessing marijuana.

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No one should have to break the law or move states in order to ease their suffering. My heart breaks for every man, woman and child that has to endure pain because this plant is illegal in our state. No South Carolinian should be deprived of medicinal cannabis, especially when over half the country has legal access to it. I watched it work for my dad and I know it can improve the quality of life for so many others.

Brant Reese

 

Hello, my name is Brant Reese. I am a husband, father, son, grandfather, and brother. My story is one of extreme pain and suffering. From 2006 until 2009 I dedicated my life as a Deputy with The Darlington County Sheriff’s Office. I witnessed firsthand the effects that prescription pain killers have on those addicted to them and the effects that Cannabis had on those who used it. The effects of the prescription painkillers were far greater than that of the people using Cannabis. I understand that an officer in uniform cannot support Cannabis on any level but as human beings with hearts and souls almost every one of my former officers would support it to help their sick family, friends, and neighbors.

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I have always been extremely active. I have never let anything hold me back. All that changed February, 2013. While on a ladder I fell, and injured my spine. The pain was unlike any pain I had ever experienced. After months upon months of X-rays, MRI’s, CT scans, therapy, and many Neurologist I finally received a diagnosis of spinal stenosis, narrowing, and deterioration of the spine. This means that my issue was not fixable by surgery and I would have to rely on other methods. My Doctor began a regimen of pain management by means of prescription pain killers. I started as low dose as possible and nothing was working. The pain got so intense that I was no longer functioning but was bed ridden and confined to a fetal position with tears of agony. I am currently taking 30 mg of Morphine twice daily and that barely makes the pain tolerable. I can no longer run, drive, or walk long distances and most days I do good to be able to move from the bed to the couch. I need a better option! I have but one final question… Why is it that I can be given chemical pain killers and treatments with deadly side effects, addictive traits, and that cause other illnesses but I am denied the ability to obtain and legally use a plant that is natural and lacks the horrible side effects? Why can’t I have the freedom to choose the medical treatment that best suits my needs?

 

Cat Stevens

 

Halle is six years old and has benefited tremendously from hemp-based cannabis, but as she grows and gets bigger we know that to keep her seizures at bay she will need the stronger forms of cannabis from MMJ. Using cannabis, Halle has gone from 1-2 big seizures per week to 1-2 per month and sometimes less. She’s been able to come down 30% on a traditional seizure med that harms her vision. Since starting to take hemp-based cannabis, Halle has been awake more, done better in therapy and had more life in her eyes!  Her mom and dad are huge advocates for her and cannabis.

I work at Furman University as does her father and she has two brothers – one older, one younger.

Bradley Pierce

 

In 2013 I was finishing my freshman year at the University of SC and preparing to leave for a Chinese International Business program. Two weeks before my 19th birthday, I was hospitalized for a seizure and underwent a surgery that resulted in a diagnoses of incurable stage 4 brain cancer, the same cancer Senator Kennedy died from in 2013. I was blessed enough to have access to Boston Mass General hospital, where I underwent a second surgery and cancer treatment.  I turn 23 this April and my birthday will mark my fourth year as a cancer survivor. When diagnosed, I refused to take a death sentence; I began to learn all I could that would allow me to live a longer and more fulfilling life. I have done all in my power to learn and apply practices, such as diet, to control my cancer and prevent seizures.

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Alongside dietary changes, it was recommended that I look into medical cannabis. I’d never used cannabis before and didn’t want to start until I did extensive research. I read as much literature as I could on cannabis to learn, not only how it could possibly benefit me, but the political and social history of the plant as well. I first used cannabis during my chemotherapy rounds and as a sleep aid. In a summer trip to New York when I was without cannabis, I had my first seizure since the one that resulted in diagnoses. It was then I realized that cannabis had not only been treating my chronic conditions, but also my epilepsy. Just like any other prescription that is effective, I don’t think that I or anyone else should have to hide and worry about the use of a drug that improves their quality of life. I refuse to live a life of suffering during the 10-20 years I have been given to live and forcing others to do the same is immoral. While I believe my argument is valid, the validity of my statements are not fully understood until someone we love or our selves are put into a situation where cannabis can offer help and better the one we love’s life. Until we see our father using cannabis to quell the nausea from intensive chemo treatments or the child we love suffering constant seizures can one understand the medical value of an illegal plant.

 

Mandy Keefer

 

My name is Mandy Keefer. My husband and I have four children. Our fourth child, Raelyn, was born in 2013 with an extremely rare genetic condition that has caused many different medical diagnoses’ including intractable epilepsy. She began having infantile spasms at 2 months old and her condition progressed to the point of her neurologist telling us, after trying many anti-epileptic drugs, that there was nothing more that he could do for us. He was ready to refer us to Duke. She seized daily and was having tonic clonic seizures in which she often stopped breathing.

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Her seizures were becoming so severe that she was no longer responding to the rescue meds and we were slowly making the hospital our home. It was at this time that we decided to take matters into our own hands and purchased Palmetto Harmony CBD oil. After the first small dose of CBD oil we noticed a change in Raelyn and after the second dose, Raelyn’s seizures stopped. It was miraculous, 24 hours of CBD and our precious girl experienced relief. Although, seizures have been far less than before CBD, it is not a cure-all and we still have breakthroughs due to weaning seizure medicines and sickness, etc. I am determined to fight for full access to medical marijuana for the treatment of our daughter’s seizures and for all the patients in South Carolina suffering from conditions that could be alleviated with the treatment of cannabis. It infuriates me that families are being forced to uproot their families and move to legal states in order to treat their loved ones. I am convinced that together, with your help, the South Carolina Compassion group can convince the legislators of South Carolina show compassion to the suffering patients in South Carolina.

 

Denise Mathis

 

My name is Denise Mathis, I am advocating for my 16-year-old daughter Taylor.
She was diagnosed at 3 years old with Rett Syndrome, a neurological disorder that causes developmental and nervous system problems, mostly in girls. She was also diagnosed with Epilepsy at 6 years old as a result of Rett Syndrome. I believe that treatment with MMJ will help her be seizure free and have a better quality of life. My child and others like her deserve the rights to this alternative treatment.

 

Edie Hershfield

 

My name is Edie Enright Hershfield and I am the owner of Palms to Palmettos in West Columbia, South Carolina.
When I was 16 years old, I was a passenger involved in a horrible MVA (motor vehicle accident) in California where I was born and raised. For years, I suffered with chronic pain in my neck and shoulders as well as muscle spasms in my chest. Over the past 30 years, I have been to neurologists, physical therapists, chiropractors, and even surgeons.

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All offering me Band-Aids to mask the pain. Since 2009, I began developing parasthesia due to the progression of Degenerative Disc Disease, Stenosis, and Spondylosis of the Cervical Spine. I found Massage Therapy to be one of the most rewarding therapies for me that was non-invasive. However, during my most recent visit to the neurologist when my symptoms worsened, I was again given the option of surgery. Last year, I begin to use whole plant CBD oil and noticed not only did it ease my pain, but it also helped me to better control my migraines which was a result of the injury. I also found that vaping 100% VG cannabinoid oil usually stops my asthma fairly quickly. It hasn’t completely eliminated the numbness and pain in my cervical spine, but it has eased it. I do believe that having MMJ available to citizens of South Carolina who suffer with chronic pain like me, would be a blessing for so many lives. As an artist, business owner, mother, and partner, I want to have my quality of life back. It is important that we all reach into our hearts and share Compassion through our lives. Enriching someone’s life through joy, smiles, and the freedom of feeling trapped in a “disease-care” system is what I advocate for. If we want to become a part of the “healthcare” system, we must look at nature-based medicines. MMJ would be just that! I have witnessed so many customers, friends and family who suffer many dis-eases and know that having MMJ available to treat could potentially save lives. For some it is too late, but for other’s….

 

 

 

Marie Pitt

 

I was diagnosed in October 2014 with stage IV, Triple Positive, Invasive Ductal Carcinoma at the young age of 46. I have been battling this very aggressive breast cancer disease with some form of chemo and/or immunotherapy nonstop every three weeks with two significant recurrences less than one year apart. Chemo treatments will continue for the rest of my life and they will only increase in intensity as each one falls away and is no longer effective. 

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I believe that medicinal Cannabis will help alleviate multiple side effects from chemo and assist with pain management. I have also read several papers showing research to prevent metastasis and even kill breast cancer cells using cannabis either as a first line treatment or to enhance other first line treatments. Obviously this would interest me and could greatly impact my future and the future of many others. Unfortunately, doctors are not allowed to prescribe such treatment since it is currently illegal in our state. I believe as patients we should have the right to try any treatment we deem necessary especially one provided for us in nature.
 

Dawn Ridge

 

As a Licensed Massage Therapist since 2009 and Owner of Dawn of Your Wellness,  I have put a lot of stress on my body helping others feel better. After seeing a neurologist last year and having an MRI, I discovered that I had Ulner Nerve Compression and Frozen Shoulder which the doctor’s 1st option was for surgery.
Being a Holistic Healer, I looked for alternative medicine to help and that’s when I discovered Whole Plant CBD oil. After I began using it daily, all of my nerve and joint pain went away. I never had those surgeries!

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Now, I am able to have my quality of life back and give my clients 100%. For others, CBD oil is not enough. I lost my first client last year after a grusome battle with cancer. Yes, she did use the CBD oil and it did ease her pain. However, MMJ would have been the choice for her to take. Unfortunately, she did not have that option and her family watched helplessly as her health failed. I believe that MMJ is so beneficial to the body’s healing cycles and it is a better resource than addictive pharmaceutical drugs without the harmful side effects. Now, many of my clients have begun to use Whole Plant CBD oil and each of them have seen a difference in their overall health. Some of the conditions they are using it for range from Multiple Sclerosis, ALS, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Diabetes, Spinal Stenosis, Crohn’s disease, and Epilepsy. Each and every person has seen a difference and has a story to be told. Without a doubt, I believe with your support of the South Carolina Compassionate Act our state could be a symbol of Unity. A State where patients that are too sick to travel would no longer have to leave their homes in order to get the care they so desperately need. Families are already stressed by financial and emotional burdens that not only take toll on the caregivers but also taxes the emotional and physical states of the loved ones that they are so desperately trying to help. Let us all Unite with Love and Compassion to show our legislators that the Citizens of South Carolina need to be allowed to make their own choices in their health care. MMJ should be approved and I will continue to advocate for everyone to have this First Line Option in South Carolina.

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