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Stories from the Community

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Living on Borrowed Time and Fighting for the Lives of Others

By Beverly McClain

When I joined the movement to make medical marijuana safe and legal for seriously ill and disabled New Yorkers I had no idea how much it would challenge me and enrich my life. Over two years of grueling battles to pass the medical marijuana program into law, this fight has become bigger than me and my cancer.

I thought in 2008 that my cancer was treated and cured. But in 2011 I learned my journey was only beginning. I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. The median survival time is less than three years, which I surpassed in April of this year. While I am doing well now, I know my condition can change anytime. I count my blessings for each day lived well.

As the cancer progresses, I experience my ups and downs. Sometimes I struggle with side-effects of radiation and chemotherapy that treat the advanced symptoms of the disease. There are times when I am racked with debilitating pain, nausea, lack of appetite, depression and anxiety. And I have stable periods where I lead an almost normal life. Medical marijuana is an essential treatment for people in my situation. It allows us to tolerate life-extending treatments and it gives us some time to just feel good instead of sick.

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The March for Compassion for Video Series- Beverly McClain

By Compassionate Care NY

This is part of the March for Compassion video series highlighting the importance of medical marijuana for Beverly McClain — a stage four breast cancer patient. Beverly McClain is advocating for New York to implement comprehensive medical marijuana through passage of the Compassionate Care Act. This act will allow thousands of New Yorkers with serious medical conditions access strictly regulated medical marijuana under the supervision of their healthcare providers.

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The March for Compassion Video Series- Anna’s story

By Compassionate Care NY

This is part of the March for Compassion video series highlighting the importance of medical marijuana for Anna Conte of Orchard Park, NY – an 8 year-old with Dravet Syndrome, a severe form of intractable epilepsy. Anna’s family is calling on New York legislators to pass the Compassionate Care Act as soon as possible. Anna has tried and failed 13 anti-epileptic medications, been hospitalized numerous times, is on 16 rounds of heavy medication that affects her daily living, and continues to suffer from seizures. Her family is now considering moving her to Colorado to access medical marijuana treatment. The Compassionate Care Act needs to be passed in New York immediately, so that Anna can stay in her home with her family and receive the care she needs through medical marijuana.

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The March for Compassion Video Series – Tommy’s Story

By Compassionate Care NY

This is part of the March for Compassion video series highlighting the importance of medical marijuana for the family of Thomas Frank Williams, 8 years old from Lockport, NY. His family is advocating for passage of the Compassionate Care Act in New York. Thomas has been diagnosed with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome and suffers from persistent seizures. Medical marijuana has been shown to help other children with the same condition, and may be the only drug that can help Thomas. The Compassionate Care Act can bring comprehensive medical marijuana access, under tight regulation, to New York, and help Thomas get the treatment he needs.

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The March for Compassion Video Series – Christine Emerson


This is part of the March for Compassion video series highlighting the importance of medical marijuana for Christine Emerson, a pediatric nurse practitioner of Rochester, New York, and her daughter, Julia, a 7 year old child who suffers from refractory epilepsy. Julia’s family is calling for the NY senate to support the Compassionate Care Act – an act that will bring comprehensive medical marijuana to NY State and help thousands of New Yorkers, with serious medical conditions, access the treatment they need to improve their daily lives.

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