One Man’s Desperate Quest to Cure His Son’s Epilepsy—With Weed

This is Sam. He’s my son. His epilepsy caused him to have up to 100 seizures a day. After seven years we were out of options. Our last hope: an untested, unproven treatment. The only problem? It was illegal.

HE HOSPITAL PHARMACIST slid three bottles of pills across the counter, gave my wife a form to sign, and reminded her that this was not the corner drugstore. The pharmacy knew how many pills had been dispensed, he said; it would know how many had been consumed; and it would expect her to return the unused pills before she left the country. The pharmacist made it clear that he was not only in touch with our doctor but with the company supplying the medication. They would know if she broke the rules.

Evelyn said she understood and slipped the brown glass bottles into her purse. She and our 11-year-old son, Sam, were jet-lagged. They’d flown from San Francisco to London the previous day, December 19, 2012. Now, 30 hours later, it was just after 7 pm. They’d been at the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children since midmorning. Sam had been through a brain-wave scan, a blood test, and a doctor examination. Some gel left in his hair from the brain scan was making him grumpy.

Evelyn was terrified. They’d come 5,350 miles to get these pills, medicine we hoped might finally quiet Sam’s unremitting seizures. He was to take a 50-milligram pill once a day for two days, increasing the dose to maybe three pills twice a day. Evelyn was to keep a log of his symptoms during their two-week stay. They would need to revisit the hospital two more times before they returned to San Francisco on January 3, 2013. That meant two more rounds of brain scans, blood tests, and doctors’ appointments.
Sam Vogelstein has had epilepsy since he was 4 and a half. He turned 14 in May. PHOTO BY: ELINOR CARUCCI
We were confident the medicine wouldn’t kill Sam or hurt him irreversibly, but the prospect still made us nervous. The pills contained a pharmaceutical derivative of cannabis. People have been smoking cannabis medicinally for thousands of years. Deaths are rare. But Sam would get a specific compound made in a lab. The compound, cannabidiol, known as CBD, is not an intoxicant. (Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the stuff in pot that makes you high.) Nevertheless, US drug laws made it nearly impossible to get CBD at this purity and concentration in the States.

It had taken four months of phone calls, emails, and meetings with doctors and pharmaceutical company executives on two continents to get permission to try this drug. Sam wasn’t joining an ongoing clinical trial. The company made the pills just for him. It believed CBD was safe based on animal studies. It also said it knew of about 100 adults who had tried pure CBD like this over the past 35 years. As a percentage of body weight, Sam’s dose would approach twice what anyone else on record had tried for epilepsy. Would it make him vomit or become dizzy, or give him a rash or cause some other unpleasant event? We didn’t know. We’d volunteered our son to be a lab rat.

Then there was a bigger question: Would the medicine work? No one knew. The reason Evelyn, Sam, and others in my family—including Sam’s twin sister, Beatrice, and Evelyn’s sister, Devorah—traveled to London during Sam’s winter vacation was that two dozen other treatments we’d tried had all failed. (I stayed behind in San Francisco, scrambling to meet an end-of-year book deadline.)

The one thing we were certain about: This was not going to be a bargain. We’d already spent tens of thousands of dollars on consultants to help Sam’s doctors set up the visit, and we were still at the starting line. The best-case scenario was that the medicine would work and eventually we’d be allowed to import it into the US. We secretly hoped that this would encourage the company to make the drug easily and cheaply available to others. We also knew this was quixotic. Our previous experience with medications suggested the whole venture would end in failure. This much we knew: Importing an experimental cannabis-based drug into the US would involve more than giving the company my address and FedEx account number.
F YOU’RE THE parent of a healthy kid, it’s hard to imagine yourself doing what we did. Who spends tens of thousands of dollars on anything that’s not a house, a car, or college tuition? Who lets their child be the first or even one of the first to try any medication? But Sam was not a healthy kid. He has had epilepsy since he was 4 and a half. We’d tried every possible drug—nearly two dozen medications—plus autoimmune therapy using intravenous immunoglobulin and a high-fat medical diet. (I wrote about our two-year diet experiment in The New York Times Magazine.) Little worked, and the treatments that showed some results didn’t work for very long or had worrisome side effects.

Sam doesn’t have grand mal seizures, the type most people imagine when they think of epilepsy: collapsing and twitching on the ground. Instead, he partially loses consciousness for five-to-20-second bursts. It’s a hard-to-treat variant of so-called absence epilepsy. The seizures themselves are more benign than grand mal, and they don’t leave him exhausted. But they are also much more frequent. When Sam’s seizures are uncontrolled he can have between 10 and 20 episodes an hour. That’s one every three to six minutes and sometimes more than 100 a day.

When Sam’s seizures are uncontrolled he can have one every three to six minutes and sometimes more than 100 a day.
To me, watching Sam have a seizure looks like a movie that’s been paused and restarted. He stops and stares vacantly. His jaw slackens. And his head and torso lean forward slightly, bobbing rhythmically. Then it’s over, and he resumes life as if nothing happened. If he stopped walking, he’ll start again. If he was packing his backpack for school, he’ll continue. Though Sam says that he is sometimes aware when he has a seizure, typically his only clue is that when he comes to, everything around him has shifted slightly.

When they are frequent—which has been often—it’s hard for Sam to have a conversation, let alone learn anything in school. Sports? Not possible. As a little kid, Sam couldn’t even cry without being interrupted: He’d skin a knee, cry for 15 seconds, have a 15-second seizure, and then continue crying. Once, after watching a movie with me, he complained about the DVD being scratched. It wasn’t. It just seemed that way because he’d had so many seizures.

And while Sam got little help from the many antiepileptic medications that we tried, he endured plenty of side effects. One drug gave him hand tremors. Another made him violent. A third gave him hives. A fourth made him such a zombie that he drooled, while a fifth made him see bugs crawling out of holes in his skin. Twice his seizures were bad enough that we had to hospitalize him. He’d seen six neurologists at four hospitals in three states. I’ve seen him seize tens of thousands of times. You’d think I’d be used to it, but I find each one haunting—as if some outside force has taken over his body, leaving me, the person who is supposed to protect him, powerless.

By 2012, when Sam was 11, the only thing that was keeping his seizures controlled enough for him to attend school was massive doses of corticosteroids. If you or anyone close to you has had cancer, bad asthma, or any kind of major inflammation, you know about these drugs, which are synthetic versions of the body’s own anti-inflammatory compounds. Taken for a week or two, they can be lifesavers. But taken for extended periods, they wreak havoc on the body.

By the time he reached London, Sam had been on a big dose of the corticosteroid prednisone off and on for a year. It made him gain 30 pounds. It made his face look like it had been pumped full of air—a side effect known as “moon face.” And it weakened his immune system. He was starting to get head and chest colds every month. Were he to stay on these drugs at these doses longer-term, he would face stunted growth, diabetes, cataracts, and high blood pressure—all before he was old enough to vote.

So the trip to the UK felt like a last resort: If these pills got his seizures under control, he’d have as good a chance as any healthy kid to grow up to be a happy, successful adult. If they didn’t, well, we were out of options. He might grow out of his seizures, but there were no other medications or treatments that our doctors knew to try. It seemed hard to imagine him ever living on his own.
Sam’s seizures are brief, lasting 20 seconds or so. But at times, he has had as many as 100 a day. ELINOR


Rheumatoid arthritis in the hand treatments

Treatments for rheumatoid arthritis in the hands range from nonsurgical treatments such as anti-inflammatory medicines and lifestyle changes to a variety of surgical procedures designed to reduce pain and restore functionality to the affected areas in cases of severe pain and deformity.

Rheumatoid arthritis in the hands is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the joints. Autoimmune diseases occur when your body is attacked by its own immune system. Inflammation from rheumatoid arthritis can become so severe that the joints of your fingers are deformed, making it difficult to move them. Additionally, lumps known as rheumatoid nodules may form over the joints of your hands and wrist.

Nonsurgical treatment

Nonsurgical treatments are initially recommended for less severe cases of rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis actually is more often treated with medicine, exercise and lifestyle changes than with surgical procedures. These treatments can help relieve pain and swelling, slow down or prevent joint damage and increase your ability to function. Nonsurgical treatments may include:

  • Anti-inflammatory medicine – Medicines such as ibuprofen and naproxen that reduce swelling can be given to control symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Pain relievers – Aspirin, codeine and hydrocodone are some examples of pain-relieving medicines.
  • Steroids – Corticosteroids control flare-ups and help to manage the disease.
  • Lifestyle changes such as:
    • Diet – Special diets along with vitamin supplements can be prescribed to help with symptoms.
    • Exercise
  • Physical therapy


According to the American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH), surgical interventions should be timed appropriately to maximize function and minimize the deformity caused by rheumatoid arthritis. Sometimes preventive surgery may be recommended, such as:

  • Removal of nodules
  • Removal of inflamed tissue (synovectomy) to decrease pressure on the joints and tendons
  • Removal of bone spurs that may rub on tendons or ligaments
  • Tendon transfers or grafts to repair ruptured tendons

In the most severe cases of rheumatoid arthritis, or when the patient doesn’t respond to nonsurgical treatment, these surgical procedures may be recommended:

  • Joint replacement – Also known as an arthroplasty, a joint replacement relieves pain and restores motion by realignment or total reconstruction of the affected joint. In some cases all or part of the joint is replaced by metal or plastic parts. This particular surgical treatment for rheumatoid arthritis in the hands will not cure the disease, but it can provide pain relief and restore functionality in the affected areas.
  • Joint fusions – Also known as arthrodesis, this surgery joins selected bones in the hand or wrist to relieve severe pain and nerve problems resulting from rheumatoid arthritis of the hands.

Recovery time can vary from two weeks to several months, depending on the type of surgery and the severity of the disease.


My battle with Parkinson’s: As he picks up a special National Television Award, Billy Connolly talks candidly about how he’s tackling the cruel effects of the disease

Billy Connolly loves nothing more than being funny. As a wee boy he’d sit in puddles to make people laugh. Being a comedian is, he says, his purpose. ‘Not a big golden shiny purpose, but if you’re lucky enough to find out what you do well – what you think you’re here for – do it.’

Besides, it allows him to get away with stuff. ‘A luxury you get as a comedian is if you’re walking along the street and there are guys down a manhole digging in the sewer, you can say, “Come on, put your backs into it. No wonder the country’s in the state it’s in.” They’ll say, “Oh b****r off Connolly.” If you were a normal guy saying, “Put your back into it…”‘

The sentence ends in laughter. Then he sobers, touches the left hand that’s resting on his thigh. Billy doesn’t walk down the street the way he used to. ‘My left doesn’t behave like my right any more,’ he says. ‘If I walk along the street I find I’m holding on to the bottom of my jacket instead of swinging my arm. This one swings.’ He holds up his right hand. ‘And that one stays there.’ He nods at his left.

Billy Connolly loves nothing more than being funny and doesn't intend to stop making people laugh

Billy Connolly loves nothing more than being funny and doesn’t intend to stop making people laugh

Two-and-a-half years ago Billy was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, a progressive degeneration of the nervous system. On the same day he was told he had prostate cancer shortly after learning he needed hearing aids. It was, as he says, ‘a f***ing grey week’. ‘Cancer is such a creepy word, isn’t it? I remember I was on the phone. I kind of knew before the doctor said it just by the tone of his voice. He said, “I’m afraid you’ve tested positively for cancer.” I said, “Well, nobody’s ever said that to me before.” Pamela [Stephenson, his wife] moved behind me. I think she thought I was going to fall.’

After that phone call, Billy sat on the sofa and blew a raspberry. When you’re the irrepressible Big Yin, there can be hilarity in despair too. But when he was told he had Parkinson’s, there were only tears.

‘That’s one of the symptoms,’ he says. ‘You get very emotional. It was very scary at first. It isn’t any more. Looking from the outside it’s worse, in so much as it’s easier to deal with it actually happening to you rather than the thought of it. When I met people who knew me they knew about it, so it was always at the forefront of their mind. The spectre at the feast.’

Pamela and Billy met on the set of Not The Nine O’Clock News in 1979 and married ten years later. She’s now an eminent psychotherapist and bestselling author. She came third on Strictly Come Dancing in 2010 and wrote and produced her own Brazilian dance show in 2014, which toured South Africa and Australia. How on earth does she find the time to support him?

‘There’s no supporting going on. You stand on your own two feet in our house,’ he laughs.

‘She’s been all over the place working. Although she’s very supportive in so much as she’s become my mother, “Now look here. This is how you get your medicine. Pick it up on Friday, don’t leave it to Monday.” I just wander off. I like to be alone. People mistake it for loneliness but it’s not. I have friends I see from time to time.’

'It's a cruel thing, Parkinson's. There were things I liked to do, like smoking cigars. I can't do that any more,' Billy reveals as he talks candidly about his condition

‘It’s a cruel thing, Parkinson’s. There were things I liked to do, like smoking cigars. I can’t do that any more,’ Billy reveals as he talks candidly about his condition

One of whom, ‘a great pal’, was the actor and comedian Robin Williams. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s shortly after Billy and ended up taking his life. ‘We used to compare notes, me and Robin,’ he says. ‘His voice was going – it’s one of the things that happens. Can you hear mine? It gets a little thin. Some days it’s worse than others but there are exercises you do to make it OK. So I was showing him on the phone how to do them. We were doing scales together.

‘I miss him terribly. He called me before he died. It was really pleasant but it was odd. He was saying, “Do you believe me that I love you?” I said, “Of course I believe you, everybody loves me,”‘ he laughs. ‘He said, “But do you believe me?” I said, “Yes, of course I do. I love you back.”‘ Billy shakes his head.

‘It’s a cruel thing, Parkinson’s. There were things I liked to do, like smoking cigars. I can’t do that any more because it makes me drunk. Smoking a cigar makes me off-balance and nauseous. I can’t play the banjo any more because of my left hand. I keep finding other things I can’t do. I was learning the tango and it’s put the kibosh on that.’

My left doesn’t behave like my right any more

For a moment I glimpse the fury he feels at times towards this cruel disease. Billy’s a loner, a free spirit who likes the idea of slinging his banjo over his shoulder and disappearing into the sunset. Observing. Laughing at the absurdities of life.

The realities of Parkinson’s can hamper all that. ‘It comes and goes,’ he says. ‘If I put strain on my left side it can affect it for about four or five hours. I was on a tablet – I can’t remember the name of it – and I went to the specialist and she took me off it. She said the side effects were stronger than the effects of the disease. Sleepiness. Drowsiness.

‘She put me on another one and it didn’t suit me at all. It made me sleepy as well so I came off that. I’ve been going to the gym trying to battle against it. I’ve got this guy in the gym called Butch.’ He laughs. The laughter is contagious, ridiculously so. Is he butch? ‘Yeah,’ he says. ‘He’s like a cannonball. He tortures me, trying to make my left as strong as my right. At first it makes me shaky. I don’t think it’s working… But there you go.’ He pulls himself up.

‘The funniest thing was how I discovered the Parkinson’s. I was doing the Conan O’Brien chat show in LA and they put me up in a hotel. I was walking through the lobby and there was a crowd of youngsters. I’d seen them every day and I knew they knew me. I could see them looking over. They were Australian and this guy said, “Mr Connolly, I don’t want to take up your time but I’m a doctor. I specialise in Parkinson’s disease. I’ve been looking at the way you walk and it seems to me you have the gait of someone with early onset Parkinson’s. See a doctor.”

‘The first thing I thought was, “How rude! How dare you!” I was having dinner with my son that night [Billy has five children, two, Jamie and Cara, from his first marriage to Iris Pressagh, and three, Scarlett, Amy and Daisy, from his second to Pamela] and he agreed it was rude.

‘But I went to a doctor who put me onto a specialist and he said, “Yeah.” That was the week from hell. Parkinson’s and prostate cancer. Actually, it got quite funny. I was saying, “What’s going to come next?” to Pamela. I’d be pretending to limp, saying, “Now my knee’s gone.”‘

Pamela and Billy met on the set of Not The Nine O'Clock News in 1979 and married ten years later, pictured with their daughter Daisy in 1984

Pamela and Billy met on the set of Not The Nine O’Clock News in 1979 and married ten years later, pictured with their daughter Daisy in 1984

The couple pictured in 2014, Billy said his wife has been supportive 'in so much as she's become my mother' telling him to take his medicine

The couple pictured in 2014, Billy said his wife has been supportive ‘in so much as she’s become my mother’ telling him to take his medicine

Billy had his prostate removed in September 2013 and has since been given the all-clear. ‘I remember going to see the doctor before the operation and he said, “Well, first of all you’re not going to die.” I thought to myself, “Of course I’m not going to die.” It never entered my mind. I’ve always been kind of positive. I shove the cancer behind me. You can’t wear it like a medallion. I think about it because I talk about it on stage but when I’m not up there I tend not to. But the Parkinson’s – I think about it every morning. It’s forever, isn’t it?’

We’re here in his manager’s New York office a few blocks from Billy’s home – he moved to the city in 2007 – because he’s to be honoured with a Special Recognition Award at the 21st National Television Awards, being screened live from The O2 London later this month on ITV. The award will be presented by Dustin Hoffman, who’s flying in especially. Previous recipients have included Sir David Attenborough and Sir Bruce Forsyth.

‘I think it’s great,’ he says. ‘But I’m not too sure what it is.’ I tell him I understand it’s to celebrate his 50 brilliant years in comedy, film, TV and music. ‘That’s nice,’ he says and seems genuinely touched. ‘But, Jesus, 50 years is it? When I was a wee boy I thought you died when you reached 50.’ Again he collapses in laughter.

Forgiveness is the answer to everything, it’s a miracle

If, as some say, the sort of person you are eventually shows on your face, Billy is a thoroughly good man. There’s not so much as a frown-line – and no Botox either – only his flowing white lion’s mane of hair belies his 73 years. There’s something extraordinarily soul-stirring about the Billy Connolly sitting in front of me today. As his dear friend Eric Idle wrote to him, ‘You used to be a comedy god. Now you look like God.’

As the years have passed, this once-frenetic performer whose career went ‘whoosh’ (his word) after telling a bawdy joke on BBC’s Parkinson show in 1975 has mastered the art of nothingness. ‘Sean Connery put me onto it, when I was doing Mrs Brown [the 1997 film in which he starred with Dame Judi Dench as Queen Victoria’s Scottish servant John Brown and for which he was BAFTA nominated]. He said, “Stay still and shut up. There’s an immense power in it.”‘

Today the 1975 bawdy joke – about a man who murdered his wife and buried her bottom up so he’d have somewhere to park his bike – is still funny but the staying still is borne part from necessity. ‘I have a wee stool I take on stage for my act, and I find I’m clinging to it now, like a fisherman clinging to the wreckage,’ he says. ‘I don’t move as much as I used to because I don’t feel secure in my balance. My way of speaking has changed a bit too. There’s a stillness about it but it seems to be very powerful.’

Illness has not diminished Billy's appetite for work. He has always been a glass-half-full sort of person

Illness has not diminished Billy’s appetite for work. He has always been a glass-half-full sort of person

Illness has not diminished Billy’s appetite for work, and tonight his High Horse tour is on the third night of a 15-show run at London’s Hammersmith Apollo. ‘Parkinson’s is scary if you want it to be, but you mustn’t let it take control. I stay positive just by getting on and going to work. When I was first told, I didn’t know what to do about it. I had no intention of retiring. It was my agent who came to my birthday party and said, “So when am I booking you for a tour?” I said, “I don’t know if I can.” He said, “Of course you can.” He just nudged me over the cliff.’

Billy’s always been a glass-half-full sort of person. Born the youngest of two in a tenement in Glasgow, he was four years old when his mother, Mary, upped and left the family home. He and his sister Florence were bullied by the two aunts who raised them, and when his father William returned from serving in the RAF in Burma Billy was physically and sexually abused by him too. Despite this Billy loved his dad. He still does.

‘Forgiveness,’ he says. ‘It’s the answer to everything. The abuse didn’t bother me much as a child. It was after his death it got worse. I thought it would go away but it didn’t. It kept recurring in my mind. I read a book about forgiveness that Pamela gave me, about taking the load off your shoulders, putting it down and walking away. It’s like having a rucksack full of rocks. You’re carrying around this guilt. Shame. Nobody’s told you you can walk away from it, but it’s a miracle. It works. You can’t let it dominate. It’ll make you sick.’

From the time he was a wee boy Billy believed he was going to be something. ‘I didn’t know what it was,’ says Billy, who began his working life as an apprentice welder. ‘I just knew. I remember welding at the back of a ship where the propeller shaft comes out. I was sitting there looking up the Clyde designing my album sleeve. I didn’t play an instrument, but there I was designing it in my head. It was like Hank Williams – walking into the sunset with the guitar over your shoulder.’

As it was, he decided upon a banjo at the age of 23 and formed a folk group called The Humblebums. Stand-up comedy followed. ‘It was very strange. I read in a newspaper that I was a comedian. I always wanted to be one but I didn’t know how to do that. I was too hairy. Then I got a manager called Frank Lynch in Glasgow who was determined that I was bound for the concert hall and theatre.

He booked them and they filled up. After that Parkinson show it was just “whoosh”.’ Billy made many appearances with Michael Parkinson and the chat show colossus remains a dear friend. When Michael too was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2013, Billy phoned him to commiserate. ‘I couldn’t bring myself to tell him I had Parkinson’s as well,’ he says. ‘I just couldn’t.’

Billy with Robin Williams at the finish of the hill race at Lornach Highland, Scotland, in August 2000, he said he misses his friend terribly

Billy with Robin Williams at the finish of the hill race at Lornach Highland, Scotland, in August 2000, he said he misses his friend terribly

Talking to Billy, you can’t help but feel his astonishingly varied career is something that just happened to him, rather than something he fought for. Take his decision to move to LA in 1991. ‘I was at a party in London with Fergie,’ he says, meaning Sarah, the Duchess of York. ‘I was talking with one of the producers of the American sitcom Head Of The Class and he said, “God you’re funny. Would you like to be in the show?” I said, “I’ll come if you give me the gig. I’m not coming to audition.” He said, “OK.”‘

Then there’s his marriage to Pamela. ‘She fancied me. I found her attractive but I thought she was career-minded, and I was married anyway. It was extraordinary. I was playing at the Dome in Brighton in 1980 and she came to my dressing room. She said, “I thought I’d come and see you.” I said, “Oh yeah.” Bing bong. That was it.’

The anecdotes from his life are many and rich. So much so, the 90 minutes set aside for our chat passes in a flash, but he’s enjoying himself so we push on. ‘I was at Prince Charles’s birthday party once at Buckingham Palace with Elton John. There were people everywhere. Elton says, “Billy, Billy. I can’t see properly. There’s somebody gesturing to me over there, who is it? He’s trying to attract my attention.” ‘I said, “It’s the King of Greece.”‘

Again he’s laughing. We both are. The number of people he knows is quite extraordinary. Does he ever have pinch-me moments? ‘I remember being in LA and I’d just done a concert and John Mayall [the blues singer, guitarist and songwriter] came backstage with all these CDs to have them signed like a fan. That takes my breath away. Eric Idle’s my pal, but he’s also my hero. He’s probably the closest friend I’ve got. We go on holidays and talk and laugh. Have dinner. Shout and bawl. But mostly I’m Luke the drifter. He was the character Hank Williams pictures walking into the sunset with the guitar on his back. I always liked that: the cowboy loner.’

Is there anything he’d still like to do before he walks into the metaphorical sunset? ‘I might give writing a movie a bash,’ he says. ‘It would be about fairness – somebody being cheated and being defended by the most unlikely person, who doesn’t look as if he could save anybody from anything.’ Does he believe good guys always win? ‘They do,’ he says emphatically. ‘There’s a lot of unexplained, coincidental happenings in life. I don’t believe in religion and I don’t like to use words like energy, but… Death quite excites me really. I think of it as a start.’

He pauses. Again, that baby-smooth face creases with humour. ‘I was watching TV the other night and Jennifer Lawrence was asked what she thought happens after you die. She said, “The hospital gives the bed to someone else.” I fell in love with her.’

Just as so many of us have with this hugely funny genius of a man.


News 2’s Larry Flowers to be grand marshal for annual Sickle Cell 5K

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Our very own Larry Flowers will be this year’s Celebrity Grand Marshal for the annual Sickle Cell 5K in Nashville.

The event is in its fifth year and was established to raise awareness about sickle cell disease as well as funds for patient care, social services, and research.

Sickle cell is an inherited blood disorder that affects red blood cells. People with sickle cell disease have red blood cells that contain mostly hemoglobin S, an abnormal type of hemoglobin.Walking with the Stars 5K

Treatment of complications often includes antibiotics, pain management, intravenous fluids, blood transfusion, and surgery, all backed by psychosocial support

All proceeds from the event will directly benefit individuals living with sickle cell.

The race begins June 4 at 8 a.m. at the entrance to Shelby Park located at Shelby Avenue and South 20th Street in East Nashville.

Registration begins at 7 a.m. It costs $25 when you register early, $30 when you register on race day, and the kids one-mile fun run costs $10.

Click here to learn more about the Sickle Cell Foundation of Tennessee.

Girl with autism, epilepsy hospitalized after school fight, mother says


COLERAIN TOWNSHIP, Ohio —A mother said she has more questions than answers after her daughter got in a fight at Pleasant Run Middle School.

Tiffany Brandon, the mother of 13-year-old Anissa, said her daughter has autism and epilepsy. Brandon said a school fight landed her daughter in the hospital.

“Where was help? Where were the people to watch over her?” Brandon asked.

Brandon said the incident happened Thursday at the Colerain Township school. Prior to the fight, Brandon said Anissa was nearly lured into the bathroom by two other students.

“I am concerned (about) why there were (not) any teachers or aides at this point. There weren’t anybody there when she was about to get lured into the bathroom either,” Brandon said.

Before Anissa went into the bathroom with the two girls, Brandon said another student stepped in.

“My daughter could have been picked on all this time. But she doesn’t know she’s being picked on,” Brandon said. “She may think they’re her friends. When they were trying to lure her in the bathroom, the student said she was going. So, obviously she didn’t know she was in danger.”

According to Brandon, one of the girls who attempted to lure Anissa into the bathroom came at her daughter again.

“Moments after this, coming from recess, the seventh-grader picking on Anissa shoved her. That became a fight. Anissa had to defend herself and during this fight a seizure arose,” Brandon said.

Brandon said the seizure put Anissa in the hospital for two days.

Anissa was suspended for three days for her involvement in the fight. A spokeswoman for Pleasant Run Middle School tells WLWT they follow the district’s protocol for discipline.

Colerain Township police said they investigated and have settled the case.

Brandon said Anissa is recovering.




Student Captures What Happens When People Are Told They Are Beautiful

How would you react if someone told you that you’re beautiful? 18-year-old Shea Glover, a highschool student from Chicago, conducted a social experiment to find out. She posed people in front of her camera and then told them “I’m taking pictures of things I find beautiful.”

The responses are touching. “I conducted an independent project which evidently turned into a social experiment regarding beauty,” Glover writes on YouTube. “I want to clarify that my intentions were not to get a reaction out of people. I was simply filming beauty and this is the result.”