HAMBURG, N.Y. -- With no other medical options, the Wertman family of Hamburg will move to Arizona next month so they can get medication for their sick child.
Joey Wertman, just 9-months-old, has been diagnosed with Infantile Spasms, a severe form of epilepsy. His seizures have kept him from normal childhood development.
His parents Joe and Brittany, both trained nurses, have taken him to countless doctors, who have prescribed countless medications. The seizures haven't gone away.
"Every medication after every medication after every medication didn't work," Joe said.
Then he heard about medical marijuana and what it's doing for other children who suffer from seizures. Many children have shown remarkable recoveries and are now off their other dangerous pharmaceuticals.
A physician in Detroit, who specializes in Infantile Spasms, encouraged the parents to try it.
"(He) said, 'You have nothing to lose. Try it.,'" Joe recounted.
Most of the so-called "marijuana refugees" are going to Colorado, where several low-THC strains have shown remarkable results. Among them is "Charlotte's Web," developed by six brothers in Colorado Springs. It has attracted "refugees" from all over the country.
But the Wertman's have extended family in Arizona, and they found a dispensary and growing operation that is producing a strain similar to "Charlotte's Web" for another child with seizures.
"This is what he needs," Brittany said. "This is what will save his life."
Joe and Brittany are still pushing New York State to pass a medical marijuana law, so they can one day move back to their hometown.
The family set up a Facebook page for Joey where people can keep track of his progress. His mom often updates her blog. Also, a GoFundMe account has been set up to help the family pay for the astronomical medical costs. As of Wednesday afternoon, it has already raised more than $2,000.
A benefit will take place for Joey at the Ironworkers Union Hall, 196 Orchard Park Rd. in West Seneca, on Sunday, March 2 from 3 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Tickets are $25 pre-sale and $30 at the door. Anyone who can't attend and wants to help can also donate to "Joey's Fight" at any Evans Bank branch.