Fourteen-year-old Deryn Blackwell from Norfolk, England knew he didn’t have long to live. He was already battling leukemia when he was suddenly diagnosed with a second type of cancer that was extremely rare, making him the first person to have both diseases at the same time. Needless to say, things weren’t looking good.
Deryn became addicted to morphine and superbug caused his fingers turned black. One December, after he was told by his doctors that he had less than a week to live, Deryn made up his mind to plan his own funeral.
His coffin was to be driven in the same hearse that carried Winston Churchill, then brought into a crematorium to the sound of a Danish pop song called “Move Your Feet.” He was to be laid to rest wearing a suit and sporting a pink mohawk. But things didn’t go quite as he planned… and it was all because of a controversial—and illegal—substance.
Deryn Blackwell of Norfolk, England was told he wouldn’t see Christmas. He was only 10 years old when he was diagnosed with leukemia, and then with the extremely rare Langerhans cell sarcoma.
Doctors told Deryn’s parents, Callie and Simon, that the only hope was a bone marrow transplant, so they performed several such transplants. They all failed.
With his immune system weakened from the transplants, his body was being attacked by multiple infections, and a superbug caused three of his fingers to go black and necrotic. The family was told that all hope was lost.
After battling for his life for four years, Deryn finally accepted the fact that he was going to die. He said it was the best day of his life, because it gave him a calm and peaceful feeling of finally having control over his life and where he was going.
“He said he was looking forward to see what was coming next—the next adventure,” his mother said.
The family moved into a hospice in mid-December, and they prepared their final goodbyes. They even celebrated Christmas early—on December 14—since the doctors had given Deryn only days to live.
Yet Christmas came and went, and then came the New Year. Then, in the second week of January—almost a month after Deryn had been given just days to live—he accidentally tore the bandages off one of his fingers. What was revealed underneath was not a decayed finger. Instead, it was completely healed.
His doctors couldn’t explain how he’d managed to fight off the infections without any bone marrow, an immune system, or drugs. But that’s exactly what happened…
There was actually a sound explanation for Deryn’s miraculous recovery—and it all had to do with his mother’s intuition. “Two months ago we were getting ready to cremate Deryn and now they are telling us that his treatment is over,” his mother, Callie Blackwell, said. So, what was it that Callie did?
Four years later, the truth of Deryn’s miraculous recovery was revealed. When Deryn appeared to be at his lowest point, his parents became desperate. That’s when Callie started researching the health benefits of cannabis.
Specifically, she learned about Bedrocan, a painkiller with a cannabis-base. It was not yet available in the U.K., but it seemed like a better option than keeping Deryn on conventional painkillers like morphine.
Callie and Simon knew that acquiring the cannabis would be a huge legal risk, and they hesitated about exposing their son to the drug. Yet they were desperate, and after Simon (illegally) bought some marijuana, he and Callie prepared it with a rice cooker and vegetable glycerin.
While they didn’t like the idea that they might be encouraging their son to take illegal drugs, they knew it was their last chance. They administered the cannabis to him with a vaporizer pen while he was still in the hospital.
Almost instantly, the marijuana started to ease Deryn’s pain and relax him. It was so effective that he even said that he didn’t want to take morphine anymore, despite his addiction. It finally seemed to be a sign that he was on the road to recovery.
The marijuana wasn’t just making Deryn feel better, but it was actually healing him! This became clear when the bandage fell off his middle finger.
Soon, his whole body started improving. The only conclusion that his parents were able to make was that the marijuana saved his life. “There was a direct correlation between Deryn having the cannabis tincture and his improved blood counts,” wrote Callie.
For the first time, Deryn can picture his own future. While before he was thinking merely in terms of hours and days, now he can think in years—and about going to school and having a career: “Now 17, his weight is no longer a problem and he has decided to pursue a career as a vegan chef,” Callie said. Hopefully Deryn will have a long and happy life ahead of him!
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