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Parents Confirm Cannabis Oil is Saving 4 Yr Old Daughter From Cancer

Cathy Marshall, KGW News

MILWAUKIE, Ore. -- Two Milwaukie parents, once opposed to marijuana use, now credit the oil from the plant for keeping their 4-year-old daughter alive.

VIDEO: Watch KGW report

"She is so busy and independent," Bethany Merklin said as she watched her daughter Leah play in their living room.

Sixteen months ago, the Merklins were told by doctors at Doernbecher Children's Hospital that a rare inoperable brain tumor meant Leah had six to 12 months to live.

"It was the worst day of my life," remembered Leah's dad, Erik Merklin.

The Merklins believe the daily doses of cannabis oil sandwiched between Cheerios are keeping Leah's tumor from growing.

"The latest MRI showed no growth between January and July," explained Bethany, "before the oil she couldn't walk, now she's able to at least get around. Even though she still falls she has improved."

The 4-year-old takes up to a gram of the oil a day, and both her parents have medical marijuana licenses.

With no insurance coverage for the oil, it costs the family about $100 per week.

"This has hit the family hard financially and I wanted to do something to help," said family friend Jody Schreffler.

Schreffler rallied more than 40 Milwaukie businesses for "Rock 4 a Reason" – a concert, silent auction and dinner on Sept. 10 from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at Good Roots Community Church.

"The response has been overwhelming and no one questions the family's decision," added Schreffler.

Dr. Kellie Nezemi, who treats Leah at Doernbecher, says her type of tumor (DIPG) is the most deadly form of brain tumor in children.

Nezemi went on to say, "We certainly support the Merklin family's careful consideration about the use of cannabis oil."

The Merklins said they know they have to be realistic.

"We know anything can happen but we have already gotten more time with her than we were supposed to," said Bethany.

Brianne O`Neill
Brianne O`Neill