Long Beach City Councilman Steven Neal threw his support behind The Unconventional Foundation for Autism over the weekend, and thanked the organization's founder, Mieko Perez "for highlighting a very prevalent issue in the community that goes somewhat unnoticed."
Mieko, a mother of three, was at a doctor's appointment with her son Joey, only sixteen months at the time, when he was diagnosed with autism. Joey then underwent a series of experimental pharmaceutical drugs, which had an adverse affect and he began to deteriorate very quickly.
After Joey was down to only 46 pounds, and Mieko was hearing from doctors that Joey wouldn't have much time, she looked into an unconventional approach to healing and found that medical cannabis was worth trying.
Joey is now twelve, and over 100pounds again, and much of the damage done to his body is being restored by his Endogenous Cannabinoid Signaling System (eCBss).
After seeing Joey's results, Mieko began more research and ultimately founded The Unconventional Foundation for Autism (UF4A), where other families who face similar scares can turn to and find a mother who cares and understands.
"I get phone calls and emails every week from parents all over the world," says Mieko, who remembers what it was like.
"Helping another parent is why we are here and days like today I get to see them smile, and their kids get too have fun and receive excellent therapy."
"We are hear today to send a message to the health care delivery system in America," Mieko told an audience Saturday that was mostly family and friends of special needs loved ones.
"There are unconventional methods that are very effective, and what's best for our children should be the law... funding alternative therapies is vital for our children, and for the sake and sanity of our parents."
So a Saturday event for 80 autistic children plus their families was held and CLong Beach Councilman Neal was invited. Called Joey's Hope, a UF4A-sponsored event, was held at the California Aquatic Therapy & Wellness Center, and groups like Autism in Long Beach also brought families facing the same scenario.
"Being in the water is very important to all children, especially children diagnosed with autism," said Glenn Brossus, president of the the Aquatic Therapy & Wellness Center's Board of Directors.
The aquatic center offers free therapy sessions to special needs children and adults and recently celebrated their 45th year of providing their "warm waters of hope" program, so to offer dozens of children a day to play for free, aptly called "Joey's Hope" was synchronist to say the least.
Neal, the councilmember from District 9, has supported the Wellness Center, but has stopped short of endorsing a non-profit that deals in the arena of medical cannabis, until now.
Perhaps other city leaders can stop following the fear and start leading with science, if not for their own re-election's sake, for the sake and safety of a special needs loved one.
Full Disclosure: Medical Marijuana 411 was a media sponsor of this event, of which Sam Sabzehzar is a founder of.