Grace is eight years old with a rare disease that makes her suffer 400 epileptic convulsions every day. She doesn’t know it, but her case is making history in Mexico following a judge’s decision to allow import of a cannabis derivative for her treatment.
“Grace acts like a baby girl no more than six months old. She depends on all of us,” the child’s father Raul Elizalde told EFE, and called the judge’s decision “very courageous”.
On August 17, Judge Martin Santos extended legal protection to the authorities who permit Graciela Elizalde’s parents to import a medicine containing cannabidiol, a substance banned by Mexico’s General Law of Health.
During the case, lawyers appealed several articles in this law on grounds that they were unconstitutional because they violate “several human rights” such as the right to live without pain, the family’s attorney Fabian Aguinaco told EFE.
Graciela suffers from Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, characterised by powerful epileptic fits, even while she sleeps.
Meanwhile, her parents Raul and Mayela, who live in Monterrey, capital of the northern state of Nuevo Leon, have tried everything, from anti-convulsive medications that are legal in Mexico to a corpus callosotomy in 2013, a surgical procedure that entails cutting the band of fibres connecting the hemispheres of the brain.
All to no avail for Graciela, the attorney said, which was why the parents decided to try cannabidiol, a substance that relaxes the muscles of the body.
In order to get the substance into the country, the parents will travel later this month to the US, where specialists will prescribe the exact treatment for Grace, a condition imposed by the judge for bringing cannabidiol into Mexico.
Raul and Mayela are an example of dedication and love, feelings they seem to have passed along to Valentina, Grace’s two-and-half-year-old little sister.
“She loves her and takes great care of her, she does everything for her. She wipes away her little droolings with a napkin, she feeds her… Grace couldn’t have a better sister,” Mayela said.
“Grace’s case shows the benefits of the plant,” Fernando Belaunzaran, presidential candidate for the leftist PRD party, told EFE, adding that the current situation shows that “the war on drugs is a complete failure” and that Grace, at her 8 years of age, can be “removing the first brick from the wall of prohibition” of cannabis in Mexico.