by Kevin Parnell
March 29, 2016
Lake Country mom
Cheryl and dad Chris Pearson with their oldest son Justin.
with cannabis oil has extended her life
after she was given
just months to live with cancer.
image credit: Kevin
Cheryl Pearson has never smoked
Given just months to live after finally
receiving a diagnosis of stage 4 ovarian cancer, the Lake Country
resident was at first against the use of medicinal marijuana as part
of her treatment.
But after a tumultuous ride through Canada's medical system, which
for nearly four years had misdiagnosed the reasons behind the rapid
decline in her health, the impairment of her motor skills and the
loss of use of her bodily functions, Pearson is now a believer in
the controversial treatment.
Today her cancer is in remission and she has lived well past
December of 2013 - the time her cancer doctors gave as her "end of
And while no one involved in her mainstream treatment is going to
say it, it appears cannabis oil, made from the marijuana plant and
administered to Cheryl by her family, played a major part in
extending her life.
It has given the family hope and has
become a regular part of life for the Pearsons, a family of five,
with three kids attending UBC Okanagan, including the couple's
oldest, who is now studying the effects of marijuana as a potential
It was 2009 when Cheryl's health began to take a turn for the worse.
Originally she was diagnosed with
multiple sclerosis. Over the next four years Cheryl's health rapidly
declined while she and husband Chris fought for a proper diagnosis
and some sort of treatment.
They had gone from an active family travelling around the province
and supporting their kids in sports like motocross, to people
bouncing from one frustrating appointment to the next.
It was during this time that Justin, an honor roll student at George
Elliot Secondary, told his mom to hang on, asking Cheryl to keep
fighting long enough so he could become a doctor and save her.
"Seeing her condition and how
frustrating it was, as a kid you look at it and don't
understand," said Justin, now just days away from turning 22 and
in his fourth year at UBCO studying biology.
"You feel like doctors should be able to provide the best to
heal that person. In my mind that was when I made the decision
that medicine was what I wanted to get into."
As Justin turned his focus to becoming a
doctor to save his mom, his parents continued their struggle to get
In 2013 - four years from her initial MS
diagnosis - they were finally told it was ovarian cancer after two
large tumors were found. Doctors told the family to prepare to say
goodbye and planned some final chemotherapy treatments.
Driven to help his wife, Chris had taken to researching alternative
treatments and found all kinds of wild tales of how to fight cancer.
Finally a friend in the community called
him over and told him about cannabis oil and how it had helped their
The friend pointed to research done by fellow Canadian Rick
Simpson, who through his ground-breaking research had published
what's become known as the
containing specific instructions on how to extract
cannabis oil from marijuana plants.
- The Rick Simpson Story
Healing Cancer with Cannabis
Simpson says he first discovered the
healing properties of cannabis oil in 2003 as a potential cure
for cancer as well as for many other ailments.
Hearing about the Rick Simpson
Protocol, Chris Pearson dove into action.
"With a termination date of six
months, my number one focus was that the kids could remember the
magnificence of mom," said Chris.
"She has been an amazing mom and
I've watched people deteriorate when they get sick. I didn't
want my kids to remember her that way. I wanted her to go with
dignity and be positively remembered as a happy person and easy
to get along with.
I absolutely didn't think it would
work. I thought I could just give her something for the pain."
So as Cheryl began to prepare for a
treatment of chemotherapy in July
2013, Chris went through the process to receive medicinal marijuana
as a treatment so they could legally possess the drug.
Using the described protocol, he
produced cannabis oil. But he still had to convince Cheryl to take
Finally, it was in a meeting with the
head pharmacist for the Canadian Cancer Society where Cheryl
"My wife is dead set against
cannabis, doing something that she grew up to believe is
criminal," said Chris, noting that the meeting with the
pharmacist started to change her mind.
"When I asked if it would work, he
said there are no clinical trials but he advised us that three
of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies had applied for
patents for synthetic forms of this specifically for the
treatment of cancer, so there is obviously something to the
A few days before her first chemo
treatment, Cheryl started taking doses
of cannabis oil.
Then, just a few treatments into chemo,
it was found that Cheryl was allergic to the chemotherapy drugs. She
wouldn't be able to continue with her chemo and again doctors
informed the family to prepare for her death and to say goodbye.
However, she kept using the cannabis oil. It was the only thing she
Five weeks later they received a call from her oncologist stating
that a recent
CT scan had noted a dramatic
improvement in her liver, and a 25 per cent reduction in her tumors.
The positive results would continue as tests showed the cancer in
her body was decreasing.
She was sent to Vancouver for surgery to
remove the tumors.
"We went for the surgery and both
tumors came out well," said Chris. "Both tumors were completely
dead when they ran them through tests."
Soon she passed her date of termination
and by March of 2014 Cheryl was officially in remission.
Last weekend she spent Easter with her
family by her side.
"Her end of life was going to be
December 2013," said Chris.
"The chances they gave us were a
five per cent chance to make it to December - it was impossible
that she would make it through December. The fact we are now
two-plus years later is something that doesn't make a whole lot
"I guess I never would have believed it - the results I saw from
this plant," added Cheryl.
"Initially I only thought you could
smoke it and I was not going that route. I didn't have the
knowledge. I was just thinking it was a puff of smoke and if I
have cancer I'm not going to add to it."