A father’s love for his daughter – it can push him to incredible heights. But seeing her experience a seizure will make a father feel utterly helpless while he watches the stiffening and jerking of her tiny body. It was a feeling Raul Elizalde felt constantly, his daughter suffering hundreds of seizures a day.
In his desperate fight for a way to reduce his daughter’s suffering, Raul stood up to the Mexican government and forever changed the way his country looks at medical cannabis.
Raul will be our guest speaker at the upcoming Empower National Convention. Come here his powerful story first-hand when he takes the stage in Las Vegas this April.
A HEARTBREAKING DIAGNOSIS
Raul Elizalde and his wife Mayela were overjoyed when they welcomed their first child, Graciela, to their family. She was their perfect baby girl. Their Grace.
However, after just her first few months of life, Grace’s doctors noticed psychomotor retardation and other signs that meant something was wrong. Grace’s parents felt it too.
After an endless battery of tests, visits with specialists, and ineffective therapies, Grace’s doctors arrived at the diagnosis of Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome. Grace visited countless doctors and tried numerous drugs to control her epileptic seizures, but none managed to reduce her suffering. Hoping for nothing more than to improve their daughter’s quality of life, the couple began looking for alternatives.
In October of 2015, the family successfully sued the Mexican government for the right to import CBD products for Grace, who was seven years old at the time, forever changing the trajectory of Raul and his family’s lives.
CREATING POR GRACE
During the family’s personal journey with Grace, her Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome diagnosis, and their fight against their national government, the family began the Por Grace organization as a Facebook page to document their daughter’s life, share information with families in similar situations, and provide hope to those suffering as they have.
It wasn’t long before parents across Mexico and the world began contacting them in despair, and a network of families was created to “exchange experiences, information about therapies, donation of medicines, wheelchairs, and everything related to disability.”
Eventually, Raul and Mayela formalized their work, creating the Por Grace Foundation. The foundation works to raise awareness for conditions like Grace’s, link patients with doctors, organize educational events, and even help to direct fundraising to where donations are needed most. So far, Por Grace has helped more than 300 families in Mexico and continues to expand its efforts to reach patients in Mexico and across Latin America.
RAUL SPEAKS BEFORE THE PRESIDENT OF MEXICO
Por Grace and families like Raul and Mayela’s started a grassroots movement in Mexico that would eventually lead to the legalization of medical cannabis in the country.
Town Hall meetings in 2015 and awareness events hosted by Por Grace in 2016 caused a shift in public opinion and a wave of support from government and religious leaders, including Mexico City mayor Miguel Angel Mancera and Cardinal Norberto Rivera, the archbishop of Mexico City.
This movement led to the first patients in Mexico being given special authorization to import medical cannabis products and set the stage for more dramatic medical cannabis reform.
Events were held across Mexico in 2016, building up to President Peña Nieto announcing in a speech that his administration would be exploring a new policy on medical cannabis. Raul was invited to speak before the President to share his story. The country’s new policy was signed into law by President Peña Nieto on June 19, 2017.
SPEAKING AT THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION
Raul’s efforts on behalf of medical cannabis reform in Mexico led the World Health Organization (WHO) to invite him to speak before the Thirty-Ninth meeting of the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence.
Raul spoke to the committee on cannabidiol’s lack of psychoactivity as a major advantage to its use. As a result of testimony by researchers and advocates like Raul, the committee decided that CBD should not be scheduled or regulated as a drug.
HEAR HIM AT EMPOWER IN VEGAS
Raul will be speaking to attendees at the upcoming Empower National Convention, sharing his family’s personal journey with CBD and the ways he has worked to increase access to CBD worldwide. Don’t miss your chance to hear from this significant CBD advocate. Get your tickets to Empower here.