In 2003, when Zaki Jackson was just 4 months old, he began having his first seizures. Out of the blue, his tiny body would suddenly stiffen up temporarily and he would throw his head back. Not knowing what it was at first, and because the episodes were very mild, his mother Heather tried not to worry about it and eventually chalked it up to him just being easily startled by loud noises.
But as Zaki grew older, the episodes continued to get more severe and even increased in frequency. After spending more and more time in the hospital and running through a battery of tests, Zaki Jackson was eventually diagnosed with a condition called Doose Syndrome. He was just 15 months old at the time.
Doose Syndrome, also known as myoclonic astatic epilepsy (MAE), is a rare, little-understood, and difficult to control epilepsy syndrome of early childhood that is usually characterized by generalized seizures. Children who are afflicted with this condition will experience atonic seizures (or drop attacks) which causes the muscles to go limp. This will in turn cause a child’s body to slump or crumple to the ground – possibly causing injury.
Children with Doose Syndrome may also experience staring seizures or absence seizures. These seizures occur suddenly and without any warning and typically cause the child to appear to be daydreaming as they stare out into space while not moving. These episodes usually last just 15 seconds but can occur many times throughout the day.
Unfortunately, Doose Syndrome has no known cause and is generally resistant to medication – making it a very difficult disorder to manage.
For Zaki, his condition continued to deteriorate. By the time he was 5, he had had over 500,000 seizures. By the time he reached 8 years old, he was having hundreds of brief, violent seizures a day. During some of these episodes, he would stop talking and walking and he would even lose his ability to swallow. During others, he would stop breathing and turn blue until the seizure stopped. Each time he had one of these episodes (called tonic seizures), his parents feared the end was near.
Because his brain was under constant assault, Zaki also fell far behind developmentally. To make matters worse, by 10 years old he had been on 17 different pharmaceutical drugs. None of them were able to bring his condition under control and many of them caused harmful side effects.
As a child, Zaki experienced insomnia, anorexia, weight gain, and hair loss as a result of these potent pharmaceutical drugs. He didn’t sweat for 2 years on one medication. And as a result of long term steroid use, he had bone loss and even developed cataracts.
His parents also tried numerous non-FDA-approved treatments and every alternative therapy available, but they all failed to work. By the end of 2011, Zaki was receiving palliative care and eventually the family took a Make-A-Wish trip to Disneyworld – thinking it would be their last trip as a family.
Finally, Zaki’s parents turned to CBD as a last resort.
The Stanley Brothers’ High CBD Strain Saves Zaki’s Life
After piecing together what research she could, Heather Jackson decided to give CBD a try. Unlike the psychoactive component in marijuana called THC, she had learned that cannabidiol or CBD was non-intoxicating and was convinced that it had a much better safety profile than the drugs she was giving her son. She also found studies that showed it was an anti-inflammatory, a neuroprotectant, and an antioxidant.
Soon, Heather’s hospice counselor introduced her to the Stanley Brothers in her home state of Colorado. At the time, these growers were producing a special strain of cannabis that was high in CBD and low in THC.
We’ve written about the Stanley Brothers in the past, but if you are unfamiliar with who they are, the brothers were featured on CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s documentary on marijuana a few years ago. Their high CBD strain of cannabis had saved the life of Charlotte Figi – another child who was suffering from severe epilepsy. That strain was eventually named Charlotte’s Web in honor of her.
Back to Zaki’s story…
He was given his first dose of CBD extract in liquid form on July 19, 2012. Almost instantly, and with just the first dose, he went from having seizures every 2-10 minutes to not having a seizure for 48 hours! Although it took about 3 months to get the dosage right, Zaki eventually had his last big seizure on October 3, 2012.
The change has been nothing short of amazing. Zaki is now 13 years old and developmentally, he is light years ahead of where he was just a few years ago. He is now a happy, funny, energetic young man with a brand new lease on life. For him, CBD has been a miracle drug.
The Realm Of Caring
The Realm of Caring Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Colorado Springs, Colorado that was informally established by the Stanley Brothers, Paige Figi (mother of Charlotte Figi), and Heather Jackson in 2013. After their miraculous experiences with CBD, they joined forces in this new venture to provide support services and resources for families who are using cannabinoid therapies.
Today, The Realm of Caring Foundation funds and conducts research on cannabis and its applications. They also educate consumers on different products and inform healthcare professionals about options for their patients. They are also advocates for the legal access to medical cannabis throughout the country.
If you are interested in learning more about the foundation or about Zaki’s incredible story, please visit The Realm Of Caring website here:
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