Trumbull mom’s testimony helps medical marijuana bill

Trumbull resident Joy O'Meara with her son Jamison.
Trumbull resident Joy O'Meara with her son Jamison.

Connecticut is one step closer to making history when it comes to the usage of medical marijuana for qualified patients under the age of 18.

The state’s Public Health Committee approved proposed legislation Monday, March 21, that would allow children with debilitating illnesses to seek out and receive the drug — with the consent of a parent or guardian — as a possible treatment method.

The bill, which now heads to the House of Representatives this spring for further action, was passed four days after the funeral of 13-year-old Montville native Cyndimae Meehan, who passed away on March 13 from a rare form of epilepsy in Maine.

The committee's landmark decision also came on the heels of public testimony that was given in Hartford on March 2 — a hearing that Cyndimae attended with her mother, Susan.

Trumbull resident Joy O’Meara, whose seven-year-old son Jamison suffers from intractable epilepsy, was the first to speak in front of the committee during the public hearing and she expressed great relief in its decision.

“I’m grateful to be breaking barriers for these children,” she told The Times March 23.

“On to the House of Representatives next,” she added. “Sen. [Toni] Boucher will be trying to stop us again.”

O’Meara told the General Assembly on March 2 that Jamison’s seizures have failed to come under control with treatment, despite his taking five different medications four times a day through his feeding tube.

“My son has not had seizure control for more than a day in five years,” she testified. “My son misses most of the school year because of this illness.

“I take care of my son and work nights when our nurses come,” she said. “My son is severely delayed due to his seizure disorder.”

The Trumbull mom has been fighting for Jamison, as well as dozens of other children across the state, including Cyndimae and Trumbull resident Regan Deaso.

She believes the bill would change, and significantly improve, the quality of life for many children.

“It’s not just about Jamison,” she told The Times March 15. “It’s about all the children and future generations of children who suffer from epilepsy.”

No more waiting

In that interview, O’Meara said the experience of giving testimony was “100 times more terrifying than I thought,” but she was glad she spoke out.

“We should have access to this medication and be able to talk to our doctors about making this decision,” she said. “It needs to be a discussion that’s put in the hands of doctors and parents, not legislators who don’t know what it’s like and who are only rejecting it out of fear.

“It’s not working the way the legislation is set up right now — kids are dying,” she said.

Cyndimae is only the latest example of why the bill shouldn’t be delayed anymore, O’Meara said.

“Hopefully they can see now why we’re fighting so hard for our babies,” she said. “Because kids are losing their lives over this, and there’s something out there that can help them…

“It’s so crazy — I was just with her 10 days ago,” O’Meara added. “She kept holding my hand and looking at me. She was the sweetest, bright light and truly an amazing little girl.”

The Trumbull mom told The Times March 22 that she would be back in Hartford again whenever the House of Representatives meets to review Bill No. 5450.

“I will be there when it happens,” she said. “Hopefully we won't have to wait too long.”