Footballer Gabby Agbonlahor’s six-year-old niece Jayla is the UK’s youngest legally approved Class B drug user
The parents of a young brain damaged girl who once faced regular seizures have credited cannabis oil with saving their daughter’s life.
Six-year-old Jayla Agbonlahor, whose father Charisma is the brother of Aston Villa star Gabby, was rushed to hospital just days after her first birthday when she mysteriously stopped breathing.
Doctors have been unable to diagnose exactly what happened to the young girl, who was left unable to walk, talk, eat or drink and wracked by regular seizures after the attack.
Mum Louise Bostock tried everything to help her little girl, from medication to having her blessed in the holy water at Lourdes.
When medics at Birmingham Children’s Hospital told her that Jayla was resistant to conventional medication she turned to cannabis oil in desperation and was amazed to see it helping her daughter.
Despite initially being summoned to safeguarding meetings over its use, Louise fought for the right to treat Jayla with the plant and says Jayla is now the UK’s youngest legally approved Class B drug user.
She told the Birmingham Mail : “When Jayla was born there was nothing wrong with her. But then, just days after her first birthday, she stopped breathing and kept going blue. She was rushed to hospital where she remained for five months.
“At first they thought it was epilepsy. But eventually they couldn’t diagnose her and I was told that she wasn’t expected to survive.
“Meanwhile, I was pregnant with our son Junior and when Jayla was on her death bed, I went into labour.
“Jayla stopped breathing and was rushed to hospital where she was pumped 30 times. That inspired me to do everything I can to help her, and make her life a bit more enjoyable.”
Louise, 33, stumbled across articles proclaiming the alleged medical benefits of cannabis oil when Jayla was four-years-old, and started a quest to source the drug in secret.
Once she began administering it to her daughter she noticed a real change, with Jayla beginning to smile and eat properly and even facing fewer seizures.
But when she admitted to nurses that she was using cannabis oil she was immediately summoned to a meeting with police and council officials.
Louise was given clearance to use the drug in 2015. However, she still cannot obtain it through prescription and is forced to buy cannabis packages from Holland, with an £80 order lasting around one month.
She said: “Jayla used to be hospitalised every three or four weeks with seizures. Now she can go months without one.
“She is smiling and happy and has so much more life. She used to be comatose and slept all day, but she has started to eat properly and now watches TV with a smile on her face.
“I heard her laugh out loud for the first time – can you imagine?
“I believe it has saved her life, so it is a good thing. That is why it needs to happen with other children.”
Louise now wants to see the NHS approving use of the drug for patients of all ages, and particularly children like Jayla who suffer through prolonged pain.
She said: “Am I worried about the long-term effects? I am more concerned about the long-term effects of, effectively, toxic medicine.
“I do not refer to this as a drug, I refer to it as a plant.
“Jayla has been allowed to use it, so why haven’t others been allowed to use it? This has to happen.
“She is my child, she is unique and I will do whatever I can to save her life. When there is no hope, it provides some hope.”