Last month the Sapphire Medical Foundation announced its first patient would have their medical cannabis treatment funded for one year – but the charity must raise thousands to continue helping others.
On July 27, 2020, former teacher Kirran was announced as the first patient to be selected to have the costs of her medical cannabis covered by the Foundation, following application through the first grant round.
The 38-year-old was forced to give up her career as a result of fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis.
Having tried all conventional therapy to manage the debilitating chronic pain she suffers, Kirran met the financial criteria and saw a clinical specialist as part of the selection process, who confirmed her eligibility for treatment with cannabis-based medicines.
In reaction to the news, Kirran who sometimes has problems with basic tasks such as housework or washing her hair described the grant as a ‘beacon of hope’.
She commented: “My pain stops me doing the career I love. I love teaching and being in the classroom, for me, there is nothing more rewarding and satisfying. The foundation grant is a beacon of hope for me amidst the darkness.
“It represents the hope that I won’t always have to live my life like this, that one day I may be able to return to teaching, regain a social life and be able to live my life instead of feeling my life is passing me by.”
The first of its kind, the Foundation was set up to reduce the financial barriers to medical cannabis for those who are unable to afford potentially life-changing treatment.
With limited access on the NHS, the majority of UK medical cannabis patients receive prescriptions through the private sector and many are unable to afford the costs of a prescription.
However, the Foundation’s ability to help more patients in Kirran’s situation is solely reliant on fundraising efforts.
Dr Simon Erridge co-founder and trustee of Sapphire Medical Foundation, said: “We are delighted to be supporting Kirran. It is a real pleasure to help give this opportunity to any individual so severely affected by their health condition.
“However, the real shame is that we can’t help more individuals. With the volume of applications in our first grant round, we know we need to continue fundraising to support these patients in need.”
The coronavirus outbreak and lockdown restrictions have seen the Foundation – as with many in the charity sector – facing uncertainty.
“It’s been a long journey to set up the Foundation and it has been particularly challenging during the coronavirus pandemic,” Dr Erridge continued.
“Trying to raise donations to support people can be really tough.
“Prior to the lockdown, we were taking part in a lot of fundraising events, whereas unfortunately that’s really difficult to do now and people are more financially strapped.
“The whole charity sector has been quite badly affected.”
A Just Giving page set up by Dr Erridge is attempting to raise £20,000 for the Sapphire Medical Foundation.
Dr Erridge added: “We are definitely looking to build on our work, but unfortunately that is reliant on the amount of funding we are able to raise and the support from our generous donors.
“We want to make sure that we’re financially stable to be able to commit to more patients.”
You can donate to the Just Giving page
Applications are made through www.sapphirefoundation.co.uk
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