“When I first heard about CannaKids and Saving Sophie and all of the hard work they were doing to try and save children who were suffering from terrible diseases like cancer, I knew this was a cause I wanted to get behind,” Reedus told mgretailer. “The medical healing powers of cannabis are profound, and I’m hopeful that the campaign we are running to raise money for Saving Sophie’s cancer research will be a huge success.”
Both Saving Sophie and sister nonprofit Cannakids.org support research into medical cannabis treatment for pediatric cancers and other serious conditions, including severe autism.
Saving Sophie is named for its founder Tracy Ryan’s young daughter, who has suffered from an optic pathway glioma since before the age of one. The aggressive, inoperable tumor typically affects young children and the prognosis for patients includes eventual blindness and low quality of life, with little hope of survival beyond adolescence.
Remarkably, Sophie is six years old and able to attend school, as well as travel with her mother whenever possible, to represent other pediatric cancer patients at seminars and conferences. Ryan attributes her daughter’s continued well being–while enduring multiple rounds of chemotherapy and traditional cancer treatments–to cannabis oil treatments.
Biopsy samples also have been harvested from Sophie’s tumor and cloned to provide live cells for ongoing research, which Ryan hopes will ultimately benefit other children with the rare condition.
According to a release from the organization, “It was discovered Sophie’s cannabis treatment reactivated her body’s Natural Killer (NK) cells, a subset of immune cells that kill the most aggressive forms of cancers. Sophie should have gone blind years ago, but due to the amount of tumor shrinkage they have continued to see in a tumor that doesn’t normally shrink well, Sophie still sees today.”
Ryan, who speaks and advocates in the U.S. and globally on behalf of continued research, told mgretailer that support from celebrities has been instrumental to sustained progress for young patients.
“This is the second time Norman has stepped up to help raise money for us, and so to say we are grateful is beyond an understatement. To have a celebrity of this stature get behind our mission and vision is exactly the kind of act we need to continue to see in this industry, to move our message of healing faster and further.”
“Our family and CannaKids has been very fortunate in the celebrity support we have received over the years,” she noted.
“If it hadn’t initially been for Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein bringing cannabis to us in the first place, and supporting us over the years through the filming of ‘Weed the People,’ I shudder to think where our child and our family would be,” Ryan added.
“We have also recently had online support from Jodi Sweetin from ‘Full House,’ and rock legend Sebastian Bach from Skid Row. To have people like this step up and use their celebrity for the good of sick children, when kids get next to no research… It just means the world to families like ours.
“Our child’s cancer gets zero research and she takes chemo drugs that are 30 years old. It’s these fundraisers, films, and media attention that help us fund and drive the research these kids so desperately need and deserve,” Tracy emphasized. “CannaKids and Saving Sophie will not rest until we have succeeded in getting more effective and safer cannabis medicines to market as replacements for harsh pharmaceuticals that are outdated and often toxic.”
Though raffle ticket sales are closed, those who would like to donate to SavingSophie.com can visit the raffle website page for more information. Raffle winners will be announced on December 14.