RAMONA, CA. -- It’s a milestone that one Ramona family never thought they’d see their daughter reach: her 5th birthday.
Five-year-old Sadie Higuera suffers from a rare and serious genetic disorder, and wasn’t expected to live beyond the age of two.
But according to her parents, it's thanks to the North County company Hemp Meds CBD that she’s alive today and living her best life.
“She’s the meaning of true love, patience, hope and faith," said Sadie's mother, Damaris.
Born with Schnizel–Giedion Syndrome, an extremely rare genetic disorder, doctors told Sadie's family they didn't expect her to survive past the age of two.
"Lots of medical conditions. Like severe hydrophanous of the kidneys, severe epilepsy -- she’s missing part of the corpus callosum of her brain, the part that separates the brain," said Sadie's father, Brian Higuera. "There are also tumors that kill SGS babies."
Her parents say they did everything they could, but the medications doctors prescribed had terrible side effects that made her condition worse.
"Her neurologist said at an appointment, 'You know, there’s nothing else left to try with Sadie and we suggest you give her a drug that will most likely end her life -- she’ll pass away within the next two months.' It was that evening on the way home that we decided to try medical cannabis," Brian said.
"It was probably about 10 minutes after giving it to her that I noticed she wasn’t shaking as much, that her eyes weren’t trembling. They were kind of following me."
The Higueras say CBD oil -- a non-psychoactive derivative of cannabis -- made by the San Diego Based Hemp Meds has eliminated her inflammation, her pain and grand mal seizures. They also say all her tumors are gone.
“How much damage did I do trying to save her life, pumping her full of pharmaceuticals that had severe side effects?” Brian wondered.
"She’s taught me a lot about life: take it easy, take it one day at a time and especially be grateful for what we have today. I just take joy with every day with her. I mean seeing her smile again and [be vocal] is one new accomplishment.”
Sadie's parents say she will never live a normal life like their other children, but she is doing well physically, attending school and is alert and responsive.
And, of course, she’s celebrating her 5th birthday.
"The CBD, the cannabis, it gave us hope. And we were just starting it as a compassionate care [option] to see her off peacefully. So when she started doing better, it just warmed my heart so much,” Brian explained.
"How could I not share her story of healing and hope? We had no hope.”
The Higueras said Sadie’s doctors have been amazed at the change in her health and are supportive of the treatment.
Sadie’s parents have also become advocates for the benefits of medical cannabis, and talk to other parents seeking help for their ill children.
Brian is now involved with a nonprofit called Echo Connections, which provides financial assistance for families seeking cannabinoids for therapeutic needs.
You can read more about medical cannabis and Hemp Meds here.