Terminally Ill NHS Nurse Joins Fight to Legalise Cannabis
“Its our human right to be pain free and comfortable.” – Sandra Smith, August 2015
While Ron Hogg has effectively decriminalised growing cannabis for personal use in the County of Durham, a former Care Nurse turned human rights campaigner has become the latest heroine out of the North east.
Sandra Smith is married, she pays her taxes, owns her home, votes, and was a hard working professional. She had never broken the law until now. Her life’s work was caring for others, as an NHS palliative care nurse she saw people die of cancer on a daily basis. They were wracked in pain, suffering from the crippling side effects of Chemotherapy and radiation, and she would watch them fade away.
This year aged 49, the mother and care nurse was given her own terminal diagnosis: Brain, liver and lung cancer. Within days she was undergoing chemotherapy sessions on a concoction of prescription drugs. Within months she was bed ridden and movement was confined to a wheel chair.
“My life stopped and I lived in hospital, lost friends as well as my independence and my confidence. The pain was physical, emotional and mental –. I’m still young and I felt cheated. It was horrendous to go through chemo, I had all the side effects, sickness, diarrhoea, constipation, exhaustion.”
At this point her husband, buoyed by the National Cancer Institute’s clear information on cannabis in the treatment of cancer and the growing global awareness to its medicinal properties, suggested cannabis oil treatment. At first the former nurse was terrified having had no experience with cannabis or any illegal drugs, but given her options she decided to give it a try.
“They told me there was no way I’d see the end of the year and there was nothing to lose. The NHS has offered me three more rounds of chemo and if the cancer doesn’t get me, the chemo will. I’ve got nothing to lose.”
She started on a daily dose of 1 gram of 1:1 oil, the first dose gave her the best night’s sleep she had since her diagnosis, and two months on, she credits cannabis oil as giving her a quality of life back.
“I’m in no pain at all, I don’t take prescription drugs, I sleep at night and it helps with inflammation. I know if I stopped taking it, I’d be in hospital in days and at this stage, I should be in bed by now, waiting to die.”
Sandra, like so many others who discover the medicinal benefits of the Cannabis Sativa L plant has now dedicated her life to campaigning for its decriminalisation. Supported by a network of CCC’s in the north east, she is now self-sufficient and makes her own medicine at home. She also fields daily calls, offering advice and emotional support to other cancer sufferers across the UK. Shaking her head at their plight and hers, she rues the day if ever the Police come knocking:
“I’d love my day in court, love to see the police try to take my medicine – I’ll tell them about the people like me out there suffering and the children left suffering that could be helped with cannabis. It’s disgusting I have to do something illegal to get pain relief that works.”
She now urges the Government for its immediate decriminalisation:
“I will never understand why the government allows this to happen and I will fight to the end for cannabis to be decriminalised for all. It will keep people safer, they can become self-sufficient, everyone will know what they’re getting and it would genuinely help people like me.”
“I’m not knocking traditional medicine but it comes down to personal choice and it’s our human right not to suffer.”
Mrs Smith believes she will die pain free, and with dignity and strength, with memories of a day trips to the Yorkshire coast and smiling to the end.
We salute you Mrs Sandra Smith.