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Family fights for access to life-changing oil

Local resident Gavin Collins and his family are fighting for legislation to help Gavin obtain the medicine he needs to battle epilepsy and autism. Gavin was born blind and his family has tried everything to reduce frequency and intensity of the daily seizures he has – and they recently were approved for low THC medicinal marijuana or Cannabidiol, known as CBD. The oil also helps with parkinson’s, cerebalpalsy and multiple sclerosis. ’He started the oil and went 11 whole days without a seizure. It’s like a miracle,’ said his mother Brittany. ‘Right now he doesn’t talk due to his autism and he has daily seizures which cause brain cells to die with each episode. If we could stop the seizures, he could progress and learn new things.’ Although the CBD oil has made miraculous changes in the quality of life for Gavin, it’s difficult for the family to obtain the oil. While it is legal for them to possess the oil, it is illegal for them to purchase it in the state of Georgia. They are hoping state legislators will realize the burdens families face when trying to help loved ones in need of the oil. ’This oil is not a drug, it is medicine,’ said Brittany. ‘I know so many children who could benefit from this oil. They could come off of all the horrible pharmaceuticals they are on and just take the oil – which is natural and organic. We got our medical Low THC card but they don’t tell you just how hard the oil is to obtain once you get approved. We want our local legislators to know about our struggle and figure out a way to help children and adults who need this medicine.’ In order to get the medicine to help Gavin, the family appealed to state representative Allen Peake of District 141 in Macon. Each year, he makes a donation to Haleigh’s Hope in Colorado, a group named after a little girl named Haleigh Cox in Forsyth who needed the oil for her seizures. He helps families obtain the oil but while it is legal for them to possess the oil in the state of Georgia, it is illegal for them to purchase the oil in Georgia. ’We want Gavin’s medicine to be 100% legal,’ said Brittany. ‘It’s something he needs and something that greatly improves his quality of life and it’s something we want our legislators to fight for to help other families in Georgia.’ Gavin is the son of Jason and Brittany Collins, the brother of Annabella Collins, the grandson of Pike residents Don and Laurie McDermitt and the nephew of Matthew and Kayla McDermitt and Jacob McDermitt.

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