REAL LIFE

Break the law or bury my girl

This Aussie mum faces the hardest decision

An Aussie mum is facing a heartbreaking dilemma – break the law or bury her girl.

Yvonne Cooper, 33, from Lake Heights, NSW, is campaigning to change the law for her eight-year-old daughter, Sienna.

Her girl has epilepsy so severe, she suffers up to 100 seizures per day. Yvonne desperately wants to try medicinal cannabis but, as it’s still illegal in Australia, it would mean breaking the law.

‘As a drug counsellor, it’s the last thing I thought I’d ever want my daughter to take,’ says Yvonne.

‘But I’ve seen so much anecdotal evidence that suggests it could end the seizures and save my girl.’

Sienna had her first seizure at five months old and three months later was diagnosed with epilepsy. Then when she was three, she was diagnosed with Doose Syndrome, a rare form of the condition that doesn’t respond well to medication.

Sienna has to wear a pink helmet because of her seizures.

In the past six months, Sienna has deteriorated to the point where she spends all of her time in front of the TV, unable to enjoy life.

‘Because of the damage from her seizures, her IQ has fallen from a normal 90-100 to 41-50. This means she has a severe intellectual development,’ explains Yvonne.

In February, the Federal Government announced plans to make it easier for Australians to access cannabis, providing it had been prescribed by a doctor.

However, patients like Sienna, who have yet to be prescribed the drug, still face a lengthy and rigorous process to get the green light.

‘That’s why I’m campaigning for a change in the law,’ says Yvonne. 

‘Currently, it would be illegal for us to give it to Sienna. I don’t want to break the law but if I don’t, I’m convinced I’ll have to bury my girl.’

For more real-life stories, see issue 19 of that’s life! magazine – out now!

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