Meet three children who have left our great state to move to Colorado:
Hunter Klepinger is eight years old. He moved with his mom, dad and brother from Cobb County to Colorado last November, away from loving grandparents who were actively involved in his daily life, and started taking cannabidiol oil right before Thanksgiving. Since then, Hunter’s seizures have decreased more than 60 percent. He had horrible clusters of seizures, convulsing for up to 10 minutes almost daily. Those clusters are now under 2 minutes, and the last one was Feb. 19, over a month ago! He’s calmer and happier than ever. His life quality is drastically better. The Klepingers desperately want to move back home to Georgia.
Four-year-old Haleigh Cox, the inspiration behind Haleigh’s Hope Act, House Bill 885, moved to Colorado with her mom from Monroe County over two weeks ago. She has been taking cannabidiol oil for over a week and had just four seizures Tuesday, down from more than 200 a week ago. She is more alert and has started smiling again. Her mom has not seen her daughter smile since she was 2 years old . This may seem very minor, but for a child who can only lay there and have seizure after seizure, this is worth celebrating! The sad part for this family is that Haleigh’s mom, Janea, is in Colorado by herself. Haleigh’s dad, Brian, has to stay in Georgia to keep his job, which means they will be separated during this critical time in Haleigh’s life. We need to bring them home.
And then there’s 10-year-old Caden Clark. He still has seizures every day and frequently enters “status epilepticus,” a seizure lasting longer than five minutes. This last-hope treatment of medical cannabis brought their family to Colorado. The seizures control Caden’s life and, in turn, his family’s. Caden’s mom and brother are now living in Colorado while their father, a 26-year veteran with the Atlanta Police Department, is still in Georgia, working to provide for their family. Yes, they are separated by over 1,500 miles.
These three children are only the tip of the iceberg. There are hundreds of families who will become medical refugees in Colorado if we don’t act. But more importantly, children will die if we don’t take action soon. There is good news, though. Gov. Nathan Deal announced this week he will seek potential options for an executive order that offers an immediate solution. These families deserve that, and we must keep fighting for them.
State Rep. Allen Peake is a Republican from Macon.