Three years ago, it looked like Katelyn Lambert would never grow up to be an adult, and it was expected she would suffer enormous disabilities throughout her short life.
The little girl from the Central Coast of NSW was born with a rare condition called Dravet Syndrome, a severe form of childhood epilepsy that caused up to 1000 seizures a day. Some days that meant a massive seizure every every 15 seconds.
Katelyn’s father, Michael flat out refused to let his daughter live like this. He set out on a quest to find alternative treatments and discovered the miraculous effects of cannabis oil, which eased Katelyn’s symptoms overnight. He made headlines as the father of five who would would happily break the law to save his daughter’s life.
Who wouldn’t, right?
Imagine how Katelyn’s grandparents felt. Not only was their precious baby granddaughter effectively being tortured by her condition, but their own son was putting his freedom on the line to save her.
So they found a way to help. Barry and Joy Lambert yesterday donated $33.7 million donation to the University of Sydney to fund research into medicinal cannabis. It is the single largest donation made to an Australian uni.
Mr Lambert is the founder of Australia’s biggest independent network of financial planners, he is listed on the BRW Rich List.
“The experience of our granddaughter, who suffers debilitating epilepsy, has opened our eyes to the extraordinary possibility of cannabinoids treating not only her condition but a range of chronic illnesses that often don’t respond to conventional treatments,” said Barry.
“We believe this investment in the future of Australian science and medicine will provide the much-needed evidence to rapidly advance the use of medicinal cannabinoids in the treatment of childhood epilepsy and other serious illnesses.”
University of Sydney psychopharmacology professor Iain McGregor said. “This gift will allow us to explore one of the most exciting questions in modern medicine. The new science of cannabinoids has incredible potential for relief of human suffering … and to repair damaged bodies and brains.”
Katelyn’s grandmother acknowledged that the treatment using cannabis oil was unexpected. “When you get to the end of the road you try desperate measures,” said Joy. “I never imagined [Katelyn] would be able to go to preschool.”