Victor Harbor girls trial medical marijuana in Canada

Two Victor Harbor girls have travelled more than 14,000 kilometres to trial a medical marijuana treatment for the degenerative lung disease they share.

Tabetha, 12, and Georgia-Grace Fulton, eight, travelled to Victoria, Canada, to access the politically-controversial cannabis treatment.

Their parents, Bobby and Marcus Fulton, believe the treatment may save their daughters’ lives.

Tabetha and Georgia-Grace live with a degenerative diffuse lung disease, which prevents their cells from absorbing oxygen properly, leaving the girls hooked to oxygen tanks 24 hours a day.

Tabetha, Georgia-Grace, their older sister Kate and Bobby arrived in Canada on June 22, and were met by Nation Access Cannabis (NAC) manager Kim Sayer.

NAC founder Alex Aballen and his wife, Karen, offered the Fultons a three-bedroom apartment in Victoria, close to NAC head office.

Their time in Canada has been mainly spent at doctors’ offices and doing pulmonary function tests (PFTs) to check how well the girls’ lungs take in and release oxygen.

Bobby has also been organising for the cannabis oil treatment the girls need to be made by a licensed producer.

“The girls have a few more tests to run before they can start but we are hoping it shouldn’t be much longer,” she said.

The family has previously been told in Australia that Tabetha and Georgia-Grace wouldn’t survive past their teenage years.

However, the Fultons were granted some hope in late 2014, when Tabetha trialled cannabis oil treatment.

In October, she had been told that her organs were shutting down due to the toxic amount of steroids she was given as an anti-inflammatory for her lungs and airways.

Bobby secured a two-month supply of cannabis for Tabetha, which was soaked into oil, drained and used in a smoothie.

The cannabis was not heated to the temperatures needed to make it into the hallucinogen it is normally known as.

The girls’ father Marcus arrived in Canada on July 2, with their other sister and brother, Lilli-May and Chris.

The family applied to the Australian Government for six weeks’ medical exemption from school for the children. 

The eldest Fulton son has remained in Australia with his fiancee.

Marcus was diagnosed with bullous emphysema, also known as invisible lung disease.

The disease has been described by Bobby as fluid-filled cysts expanding in a person’s lungs until they eventually burst, losing that section of lung.

Marcus began receiving hemp oil ‘Phoenix Tears’ on July 3, and is feeling an improvement, according to Bobby.

The family previously indicated that they did not want to leave Australia, but felt they had to so the girls could legally restart cannabis oil treatment.

“Both girls will be on oil once we get the go-ahead from both the doctor and group making my oil on a commercial scale,” Bobby said.

“Hopefully this will happen next week.”

Until the girls begin the cannabis oil treatment and gauge its results, things are “up in the air” regarding the family’s return to Australia.

Bobby said the family has not been able to sightsee much due to the combined cost of relocation, treatment, and their Hayborough home’s mortgage, but they are still enjoying Canada.

“The weather is lovely and warm, and the kids are happy and will be getting treatment - so that’s the important part,” she said.

“We would also like to both say ‘hi’ and ‘thank you’ to all who have helped, and to everyone we miss.”