There is nothing more heartbreaking for a father than to see his child suffering. To want to help… but know you can’t. These three fathers and dads like them around the world know this feeling well, and when they became frustrated with the results they were seeing in traditional pharmaceuticals, they did the research, found knowledgeable doctors, and made the choice to use cannabis products.
Now they are speaking out by telling their stories to the media, supporting families like their own, launching non-profits, and in the case of one father, helping to motivate reform in his country’s cannabis laws.
Through it all, when it comes time to tuck their children into bed, they are all just dads, trying to make life better for their babies. So this Father’s Day, we would like to recognize the efforts of Craig, Brian, Raul, and fathers like them everywhere.
The father of 5 girls, Craig Pagano cherishes every moment that he has to spend with his girls. However, for one of his daughters, those moments were almost taken away.
Facing challenges since birth, Craig’s daughter Beyla has undergone 69 surgeries in her short eight years of life. She was treated with powerful drugs like opioids that, according to her father, left her “doped up, sitting on the couch lifeless”. One of these pharmaceuticals nearly killed her due to a reaction. “She almost died in the ambulance ride,” says her father. Finally, Craig decided it was enough and searched for something else.
Craig now works to spread awareness through interviews with local and national media and presentations at various cannabis and health & wellness conferences where he tells his daughter’s story in hopes of helping others.
“It’s amazing, amazing, amazing,” Craig said. “She’s a child now.” Which is all he ever wanted from the beginning.
Before his daughter Sadie was born, Brian Higuera could never have pictured doing interviews with news reporters, speaking in front of large audiences at health conferences, or sitting on the board of a major charitable organization.
Sadie was born with a rare genetic disease. Given mere months to live, Sadie’s symptoms were placated only by a series of harsh medications that left her bloated and sickly. When even these treatments started to fail to show results, Sadie’s parents were presented the choice of giving Sadie a “hero pill” that would ultimately end her life.
However, that was not an option her parents were willing to take, and they labored to find something else. It is through that determination that Sadie has achieved what she has.
The first day of school is a milestone all kids should get to experience, but one that Sadie almost didn’t get to know. Just days after celebrating her 3rd birthday, Sadie started a new chapter in her life by enrolling in school. She was dressed in her special customized “Off to School” shirt, made by her sister, and had plenty of grins for the camera as the family was eager to document her incredible achievement.
Since then, Brian has traveled to events around the country to discuss his family’s experience in hopes of offering comfort and education to families in similar situations. His dedication doesn’t stop there, however. Brian also serves as the Secretary/Treasurer for the Board of Directors of ECHO, a charitable organization with a mission to support those in need of cannabinoids.
It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Raul Elizalde played an integral part in medical cannabis reform in Mexico. Yet all he really wanted was to improve the quality of life for his daughter Graciela – Grace for short.
Raul’s story begins when Grace receives a devastating diagnosis shortly after birth. Unhappy with failed treatments, Raul began to explore for other options. What he found was an international community of families advocating for medical cannabis. Eager to share what he discovered and document his family’s experience, Raul launched the Por Grace Foundation as an educational outlet for others in similar situations.
During this time, he also challenged the Mexico’s health authorities for the right to legally import medical cannabis for Grace. Taking his case to court, Raul won the right to access THC-free CBD products for his daughter and, as a result, sparked a timeline of events that would lead to cannabis reform in Mexico.
In the spring of 2016, Raul was invited to share the stage with Mexican President Peña Nieto and speak about his family’s experience. Moments later, Mexico’s President announced that his administration would be pursuing cannabis reform in the country, especially access for patients to medical cannabis.
Since then, Raul has continued to work to raise awareness about CBD in Mexico and internationally by speaking at health conferences and cannabis expos and furthering his efforts with the Por Grace Foundation.