Pubdate: Mon, 20 Apr 2015
Source: Geelong Advertiser (Australia)
Copyright: 2015 The Geelong Advertiser Pty Ltd
Author: Chanel Kinniburgh
Page: 14


THE family of a four-year-old boy has welcomed news the Victorian
Government plans to fund a medicinal cannabis trial for people
suffering terminal or life-threatening illnesses.

Nationally recognised as one of the most controversial cases
surrounding the use of the drug, epileptic Cooper Wallace's family
stood tall during yesterday's announcement at Treasury Place.

"It's exciting, we just hope that the laws change quickly enough for
children like Cooper, and that we're not left waiting," his mother
Cassie Batten said.

Ms Batten said Cooper's progress and having the opportunity to pave
the way for other families suffering a similar fate was worth the
battle she and her family had faced.

"He couldn't sit, he couldn't crawl, he couldn't eat or drink orally,
he was in hospital for over 200 days one year, and the longest he was
home was only 16 days," she said.

"He had no quality of life at all. Now he is having on average 15-20
days a year in hospital, he is off a lot of pharmaceutical medication,
he is crawling, sitting and beginning to stand, so he's doing very

Ms Batten said her family was not sure if Cooper would take part in
the trial but they said it was a great stepping stone for regulating
the distribution of cannabis oil. Premier Daniel Andrews said that the
Government would work towards legalising the use of medicinal cannabis
if the trial proved to make a significant difference.

"I was convinced by (Cooper's) experience that medicinal cannabis
works and that medicinal cannabis is really such an effective and
lifesaving treatment therapy for so many families," Mr Andrews said.

"That convinced us that no parent should have to choose between saving
their child's life and breaking the law."

The trial, which will be held in partnership with the NSW Government,
is expected to start in mid-2016 and will involve 60-200 children with
severe, drug-resistant epilepsy.
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