Families of children with epilepsy moving to Colorado, drawn by success of marijuana oil

By Dave Philipps

photo - Mia Halabi, right, rests from a seizure after her mother, Miriam Khaled, center, and grandmother, Hoda Halabi, left, set her down in her new Colorado Springs home Saturday, October 12, 2013. The family moved from New York for Mia, who has 10-15 seizures a day, in hopes of treating her epilepsy with the oil from the cannabis strain Charlotte's Web.  Michael Ciaglo, The GazetteMia Halabi, right, rests from a seizure after her mother, Miriam Khaled, center, and grandmother, Hoda Halabi, left, set her down in her new Colorado Springs home Saturday, October 12, 2013. The family moved from New York for Mia, who has 10-15 seizures a day, in hopes of treating her epilepsy with the oil from the cannabis strain Charlotte’s Web. Michael Ciaglo, The Gazette

When Mohammad Halabi was a boy, his parents fled war in Lebanon to give their child a chance at life. This month, as Halabi drove to Denver International Airport to pick up his wife and 2-year-old daughter, he realized he was doing the same thing.

Halabi’s daughter, Mia, has severe epilepsy. Treatment by some of the country’s best neurologists and with the most powerful drugs has done little. This year, doctors told him to prepare for her death.

“No matter what we did, nothing helped. She just got worse until she was almost a vegetable,” he said. “She had no chance at life.”

Then in July, he and his wife, Miriam, saw an online video of a Colorado Springs girl’s astounding recovery from epilepsy using an oil made from a special strain of marijuana. The girl, who had been catatonic, was now laughing and dancing in a ballerina outfit.

The Halabis live in New York City, where medical marijuana is illegal.

“As soon as we saw it, we knew we had to go,” he said.

 
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