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Homeschoolers Advocating for Health Care

Advocating for Health Care
By Kim Martelle

Last April, my husband and I, with our two children Darius (seven) and Cadence (nine), drove ten hours from our home to Ottawa, our nation’s capital, to attend a protest about medical marijuana. We had learned that children with intractable epilepsy found relief with medical cannabis. Our little girl has intractable epilepsy and has suffered tens of thousands of seizures since she was born. We have discovered that the laws on medical cannabis in Canada are ridiculous, and that it would be very expensive to provide this type of medicine through a new system that was implemented this year. Our government does not recognize or approve cannabis as medicine [although the courts have required reasonable access to a legal source when authorized by a physician], despite much scientific evidence that it works.

It was an important day for our family. We were the only family at this event with a young person having a medical condition that warrants the use of medical cannabis. It was a tremendous experience for our son Darius not only to see our nation’s capital – a first for the children and I – but also to be part of his first ever rally that supports a cause that is hotly debated. It was a surreal experience for us all. Because we were only one of two families with young children at this event, and with a child of visible disability, the news media swarmed us with questions and requests for comment. We were on national news that night discussing our disapproval of the new regulations and how our government has put sick people in the terrible situation of having to choose between health and liberty.

This day was also an important “teaching moment” in the fashion my grandfather often used with me: to set the example for my son that mommy has a voice and about the importance of advocating fearlessly for issues that affect our family and our nation. As we stood before the steps on Parliament Hill, overshadowed by the impressive Peace Tower, I frequently looked at my family. Here we are dressed in our winter garb on a cold Spring day. Our little girl, full of smiles, is talking to the people while my son is swirling around us on his scooter, happy and engaged. My hubby, once a shy guy, is speaking freely and casually with another older gentleman and father about the issue we’ve come to advocate for.

We made terrific friends that day. We had the privilege to meet extraordinary folks who face bravely the challenges of debilitating conditions while advocating for the rights of themselves and other Canadians. We took four days in Ottawa to make this protest. After the protest, we worked in a visit to the Museum of Civilization as a fun day without the seriousness of politics. Our daughter was in good health for the trip, having fewer seizures. It was a blessing and a fond memory I won’t soon forget.

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