[dropcap class=”kp-dropcap radius”]I[/dropcap]n a last ditch effort to save his life, 17-year-old Alexander “AJ” Kephart’s dedicated parents, Sheila and Chris, decided to try out cannabis oil on their dying son with miraculous results. Here’s one American family’s painful, inspirational, devastating and heroic medical cannabis cures-cancer story.
AJ’s super supportive father, Chris, admits his son’s story is complicated–even doctors have a hard time understanding everything he is now “missing” and how he’s been put back together (with titanium, prosthetics and even a “cage” around his back after having three vertebrae removed).
It all started in August 2012 when AJ noticed a persistent pain in his knee. In January 2013, he was diagnosed as having bone cancer. Later it was found that he also had stage four lung carcinoma as well.
That’s when AJ started chemotherapy. In May of the same year, his entire knee was removed along with some bone in his thigh and calf. At this point, doctors also found six tumors on all four of his lung chambers. To keep his lungs from collapsing, AJ was kept in the hospital for months hooked up to a breathing apparatus.
AJ was healing up when the cancer returned in 2014. He had his first three vertebrae removed, his top two ribs and sections of his back removed. The surgery itself even had to be stopped halfway as AJ was losing the use of his nerves. He ended up having to wear a cage around his body until the surgery could be completed a week or so later.
Just a few months after the spine surgery, AJ’s oncologist, Dr. Susan Storch, informed Sheila and Chris that his left lung lobe was covered with 20 plus cancerous tumors. They started chemo. Again.
That’s when they got the news: It’s time to “get your son’s things in order,” said the doctors. They gave AJ only a month more to live.
In complete desperation, Sheila and Chris asked their doctor about medical cannabis and its cancer-fighting effects. Dr. Storch agreed cannabis oil would be a good “alternative” medicine to pursue along with another series of chemotherapy sessions. She recommended cannabis pioneer Dr. Bonni Goldstein.
In her Lawndale, California office, Dr. Goldstein explained how cannabinoids–especially CBD–work by telling cancer cells to commit suicide plus it stops the formation of new capillaries, which cancer cells need to grow and spread. But even Dr. Goldstein had to admit AJ’s case was going to be experimental as she has never before treated a child with this particular cancer.
On the way home to Simi Valley, the Kepharts made a stop in Beverly Hills to Tracy Ryan’s then new cannabis clinical built specifically for children, CannaKids. “When we met AJ, he was super frail and was wearing a neck brace. He was taking handfuls of pain medications daily. His Mother Sheila was terrified and she looked like her soul had been ripped out,” remembers Ryan, whose daughter Sophie was healed of a brain tumor via cannabis oil.
In fact, AJ was in excruciating pain. His father Chris says AJ was taking two of the following each day for pain: OxyContin, Norco, Tylenol and Motrin. Without the pain killers, AJ would scream and cry in horrendous pain whenever he was awake.
After five days on CBD and THC oils by CannaKids, Chris says AJ’s pain has decreased so much that he was down to taking only one OxyContin daily. “Wow,” he exclaimed when remembering this stress-relieving moment for the whole family.
Because AJ had nothing to lose, his loving parents decided to speed up the dosage process. Dr. Goldstein had recommended a three-month process to increase the dosage, but Chris decided to fly at warp speed.
In two weeks, AJ was up to the highest dosage, but he was also tired all the time and felt loopy. “No, son,” father Chris said to AJ, “you are just stoned out of your mind.” Chris admits that this was a sad, but comical moment for father and son.
Two months later, the Kepharts visited their oncologist who was shocked that AJ looked much better and stronger. She also discovered his white blood cell counts showed lots of improvement. Four months later, a scan showed the multiple tumors on AJ’s lungs were completely gone.
Chris says Dr. Storch told them something like: “I can’t explain it. There’s no reason for it. But your scan came back totally clear. There’s no cancer. There’s no tumors in his lungs. It’s all gone.”
Since then, every scan has shown there’s no longer any cancer. “I believe cannabis is keeping him alive,” says Chris.
Very unfortunately, high dosage medical grade cannabis oil is expensive and costs the Kepharts almost $2,000 a month to keep AJ cancer and pain free. The stress this financial burden has put on the family has even affected AJ’s mental health.
“He was freaking out about everything,” says Chris, who made sure to provide AJ with a psychotherapist and as relaxing an environment as he can provide given the extreme circumstances.
Today, AJ is still cancer free. He has completely stopped chemotherapy after having more complications. He and his family are seeking less expensive ways to get high-grade cannabis oils, but they have yet to find a more affordable answer before this health crisis literally puts the family in bankruptcy.
AJ’s very brave cancer survival story truly is a medical miracle and another reason cannabis needs to be legalized and affordable for everyone who needs it.