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At the age of 10, Deryn Blackwell was diagnosed with leukaemia and two years later developed a rare form of cancer called Langerhans cell sarcoma. After four unsuccessful bone marrow transplants he was given just days to live, but somehow Deryn battled his way back from the brink and has since made a full recovery. Deryn’s mother Callie revealed that she had been giving him medicinal cannabis and credits it with saving Deryn's life.
Broadcast on 27/03/2017
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It was 2012 at the age of 12 that you then became one of a very, very exclusive club, one that you never want to get into one.
In seven billion.
Five people on the planet have Langerhans cell sarcoma.
What's that, there's not a lot of research into it, so I'm not too sure on what it is.
It's it's very confusing yeah.
So that should treatment you were facing that the doctors recommended was a bone-marrow transplant yeah.
It was extensive, chemo, radiotherapy and then yeah and then bone marrow transplant, and you didn't have just one transplant.
This was three that you had to have and and how did you get on with that? Well, they failed until the first free yeah.
They were not - it's not too trouble.
So it's not it's not a big problem to have, and then, after that, this isn't as a mum, because he then really began to suffer ya, have to watch himself and how bad was it um.
Well, after the fourth transplant, they told us that you know the first three had failed and, and literally all they had was one more chance for him.
They had one more bag of his own cells, no more, they were there.
You know they'd stress the the the thing to us that there was no more chances after this and and unfortunately, three days after he had his final transplant.
He tracked his fingers down side of the bed and then picked up some infections now obviously infections with no immune system whatsoever and no way for an immune system to even even start to build within his body.
He was literally being kept alive by antibiotics.
That's what they told us.
He did get incredibly ill throughout his whole treatment.
He'd been very happy and smiley and he'd always been tried to be quite jovial, but actually those last those last couple of months are very, very difficult.
He was in a lot of pain.
You would given I think three days three days a week at most is what they told me when I asked him the the timescale you planned, your funeral.
Haven't you yeah to what extent all of it we're gonna do.
It was gonna, be fancy, dress and I'd chosen all the costumes for people, and it was gonna, be quite embarrassing for some of the people, though yeah, who actually said you want, you wanted to go yeah I did he was looking forward to it after four years of treatment.
It's enough enough was enough, so this story then takes at him yeah entirely different turn.
How did that happen through lots of research? I've done lots of research on to see when his secondary cancer arrived, and it was so unknown.
I then said: I turned to the internet inside looking and and over the over the following months and couple of years afterwards, cannabis just kept popping up people kept emailing me.
You need to try this, you need to nice.
If he hasn't got cancer, you know the cancers have gone.
This is now a completely different issue.
It won't work, for him is no, but I would dismiss it and dismiss it and actually came to the point where I was in hospital with Darren and he was so incredibly ill and really on a high dose of morphine.
He was actually now on fentanyl, which they can't go any further than that and it wasn't working against his hand and and the other issues he had with his stomach and I asked the doctor for bedrock on which is a cannabis, based, pain relief.
So it's available in Europe and because I've done I didn't you know, I, don't know, I wanted to go through the proper measures and she actually told me we can't because it hasn't been licensed for children.
So you know, and and more of it came out, but people just kept saying and I thought you know what what to lose and you've got nothing, nothing, nothing to lose it that's dying anyway.
You know, so they just rejoin your antibiotics.
At this point there was no other treatment, so you took this yeah and you asked him and you said yeah yeah I was happy to what did you notice? How quickly to think? Oh, my god I mean I honestly.
Do the effect of it.
Blew my mind.
It wasn't what I expected all I expected too.
It's done, live a research and some people use cannabis to kind of alleviate their anxiety and and some pain, and that's what Devin was really experiencing on day 17 when they said, there's, definitely nothing in his bone marrow.
There's nothing there.
You've now just got to wait.
Seven got very anxious and said: well how much longer do I have to wait? They started to trying up the morphine introduced, sleeping tablets, and so that's when I actually gave it and within half an hour's hours it administered under the tongue.
Sublingually, it's just a tincture.
It's it's! It's not the oil that people talk about.
It was just a teenager, then what we know it's within half an hour to an hour, but he was just chilled out.
He just relaxed the anxiety stopped.
He no longer was panicking and he was able to just he was able to be compas mentis, which he wasn't able to be on the belly.
Always the health-wise I mean actually things being tested against you.
Your white blood cells began to go up yeah after five days or C.
They told us nothing in his bone marrow, so gave it to him five days later, when the bandages came off his hand, and we saw a healthy fingers which we were told, there was no way they were under there when we saw a healthy finger, see the doctor started panicking.
This was now based 75 after the transplant and he was then Tony be there for three three days yeah and nobody has ever engrafted.
After fifty days so day, 75 and all of a sudden, his white count has appeared.
The doctors start running around frantically.
Doctors from Bristol, Children's Hospital were called in to do some more blood tests, which I said well.
There's no point: you told me on your week ago: there's nothing there and obviously in the blood count.
It was there, it's very small, but it was there and to test the theory.
You actually withdrew the cannabis after a little while and the blood count started to go down.
So where are you now? How are you now perfectly healthy, I'm? Glad you're normal? You stress this is this: is this doesn't work for everybody? This is not a cure.
No, this is something that worked for you and you could be prosecuted, let's be honest.
Well, the under current laws in England, the world's cannabis is not registered as having any therapeutic value.
Anyone using the drug, if medical reasons could be charged for possession possession carrying a maximum sentence of five years in jail or an unlimited, fine, fascinating story.
It was so happy that you're here and healthy good luck with the diner he wants to.
He wants to open his own vegan American, an apprenticeship as a chef.
Then you know please who would not want to the boy in seven billion.