(image credit: Beth Hutchinson (04 March 1993 – 25 October 2013)
In last week’s Blog I told my sister’s story of how cannabis eased the suffering she experienced from her Melanoma cancer treatments, offering a necessary quality to the end of her life. My family are among many whose lives have been directly impacted by cancer, the Hutchinson’s are another.
Beth Hutchinson underwent 4 brain surgeries to remove 4 Grade IV Glioblastomas. She would joke that “I’ve had more surgeries In the past few years than I’ve been to the dentist.” At 17 years old, she was told by her doctors that there was nothing they could do to treat her cancer.
her father, David Hutchinson, took the initiative to start researching other options and on April 20th 2011 decided to try medical cannabis. Due to the lack of research in North America, David drew on sources from around the world to establish a firm understanding of cannabis’ safety before allowing his daughter to use it.
She had been given 6 months to live, but her application to Health Canada took longer than that to process. In the meantime she became a member of a Vancouver dispensary and began using an edible cannabis extract oil. When her application was finally approved, she was given only a pink piece of paper as verification, not the security verified card she was expecting, considering it would be her defense against arrest and the ominous mandatory minimum sentences that had been newly introduced. Her interaction with Health Canada made her feel like a criminal just for seeking help to treat her incurable illness. Under the new MMPR system, the cost for Beth to use this medicinal plant for sleep, anxiety, nausea, headaches, appetite, and pain was estimated to sky-rocket from $300 a month to $3000 and for no reason that was apparent to Beth.
With alcohol and tobacco permitted for recreational use, the restrictions on marijuana for medical use are nonsensical. Cannabis is remarkably non-lethal and about as addictive as Starbucks. It doesn’t cause aggressive or dangerous behavior. It doesn’t make you lazy or unable to learn. Beth had a 4.0 GPA, was in 2 school shows and helped direct a third, worked 2 jobs and got into UBC and UVIC all while taking cannabis.
Beth died on October 25th, 2013. She wrote these notes that her father found a week after she passed. They were to help her make these videos, which are an attempt to help her voice be heard before she had no voice at all. The weight of these true stories is shared by all Canadians as nobody is immune to these deadly conditions. Almost everyone knows somebody in their family who has fought and/or died of Cancer. May we help each other bare this load by sharing our stories so that we may improve life for those who need help the most.
Previously appeared at Lift