waldo on weed: a documentary
This is Waldo.Hi. I'm Dadvocate. Waldo's dad. Waldo's a very special boy - and not just because he was born on a palindrome, under a blood moon, weighing almost 14 pounds, and is to this day considered one of the biggest babies ever born in Philadelphia...
But also because of, well, what happened to him.
IN THE FALL OF 2014, at six months old, Waldo was diagnosed with a very rare, very aggresive form of eye cancer known as bilateral retinoblastoma.
At the time of diagnosis, doctors told us what most people are told in situations like ours:
that chemotherapy - which is to say, steroids, opiates, narcotics, bags of pharmaceuticals and other hard drugs - is the best, safest, and most trusted option in modern medicine when it comes to fighting cancer.
The only option, really.
"...In order to save your son's eyes, and his life,"
they told us, "you should take our advice...".
So we did.
Chemo began later that week.
And then something happened to Waldo that happens to most people in situations like his:
He got violently sick.
We got depressed.
Waldo's health got increasingly worse by the day, with no knowable end in sight. We were given no further instructions in regards to helping him. Only...
"Give him more drugs," our nurses and doctors reassured us, "hopefully that will help curb the effects of all these...drugs...we're giving him."
"This is perfectly normal..." they said.
The puking, the crying, the sickness, the obliterated immune system, the cell death, the drop in energy, the weight loss, the hair loss, the apetite loss, the loss of function, the loss of laughter, the irritability, the lock jaw, the pain, the allergic reactions, the coughing, the blood transfusions, the platelet transfusions, the potential to go deaf, and blind, and sterile, from all the stuff they were pumping into his body, well...
"it's just what happens", they said.
We felt completely helpless.
Nothing made sense.
Things got heavy.
But this isn't one of those sad stories where a helpless family watches their helpless baby wither away to nothing, wondering what went wrong, and where.
This isn't a sad story at all...
Because something *else* happened to Waldo directly after that, something incredibly simple, that changed his life, and the course of ours, forever...
Something we were raised to believe was bad. Evil. Useless. Foolish. Unsafe. Not Medicine. AGAINST THE LAW.
Something called weed.
Specifically, cannabis oil.
- - -
IT WASN'T EASY TO FIND, where we live.
And it was in no way legal (as is tradition in many parts of the US), but that didn't stop us, our friends, or Waldo's uncles, from getting it for him.
With considerable help from experts in the field, and a few tough decisions, we traveled across the country and tracked some down.
Upon my return home, Waldo began his new, cannabis-based cancer treatment.
We saw firsthand just how powerful, precise, and effective this sacred medicine is when administered to a fragile infant.
Needless to say, we were absolutely floored by the results.
Within just a few short hours, Waldo began breastfeeding again. Crawling again. Pooping again. Laughing again. Being himself again.
Our newborn baby, Waldo, was back to 'normal', all things considered.
In other words,
cannabis helped him. And us.
Over the course of the next year, as he continued his various forms of chemotherapy, we continued his cannabis therapy, in secret.
And during that time, something funny happened that rarely happens to people in situations like ours:
we stopped giving our son pharmaceuticals outside the hospital, altogether.
And he stopped puking, altogether.
He stopped losing weight.
He never needed a blood transfusion, once.
He never needed a platalet transfusion, once.
He stopped acting sick.
We were told by countless medical professionals, some of the most respected in the western hemisphere, that our baby and his incredible cancer fight was 'nothing short of a miracle'...
"The chemo must really be WORKING," they said.
"...whatever else you're doing at home, KEEP IT UP!" they insisted.
So we took their advice.
We kept giving our kid weed.
We believe it saved Waldo's life.
And the spirit of our family.
It rescued us and our friends from an otherwise bottomless pit of despair, pain, confusion and hopelessness.
It gave us a sense of a control in a situation where we previously felt we absolutely none.
We quickly realized:
nearly everything we were raised to believe about marijuana was just flat out...not true.
I suppose that's where the real story begins.
And why my friends and I have been shooting a documentary about Waldo's journey over the past year and a half.
Because he isn't sick anymore.
As of this post, nearly a year and a half after our journey began,
he's tumor free.
Cannabis oil was one of the biggest contributing factors to Waldo's success.
But why are millions of other children and patients all over the world, people who are sick, and dying - right now - held back from trying this medicine?
Why isn't cannabis a real OPTION for all sick people who are curious about it?
Why did my family and I have to jump through so many hoops, take so many risks, and travel across the country, to find some?
Why is it against the law?
Why do *some* people have access to it, while others don't, based on...zipcode?
Why can't parents, doctors, and patients excercise their right to explore every tool in the proverbial toolbox, when it comes to improving their longterm health and quality of life?
We don't know.
That's why we're making this movie.
That's why we want to release Waldo's story for free, right here on the internet, in the hopes of helping other people like us who might be going through the same thing.
We just need a little more money to help finish it, first.
By contributing to this project, WALDO ON WEED: A DOCUMENTARY, whatever the amount, you'll be affording us the opportunity to finish editing, shooting and releasing this film to the public.
Above all else, you'll be doing your part to keep the overall conversation of cannabis, and modern medicine, moving forward.
with the utmost sincerity,
#feelthebern #occupywaldo #waldosonweed
i sat down on a bed w/ two new friends and discussed all things intimate, green, and waldo. #nprshit #newscenes #actnatural #shesanatural #newfriends #newoprah
...lately i've been exercising my right to be open (this whole campaign is an exercise in it) and a lot of my friends have been doing the same thing. we have our different histories, different paths, different perspectives but the yearning to be open has led each of us to learn the same lesson. we believe that openness is the absolute key to living a meaningful existence.
in being open, i have come to see that sharing one's flawed and human self with others comfortable enough to do the same allows everyone involved to appreciate the process. we all come to discover the invaluable satisfaction of knowing - deeper than any other place inside of us - the Truest version of ourselves.
some of you seem to appreciate such transparency. you haven't hesitated to share your response to my family's story (and your resources) with me and for that I sincerely thank you. we've met online, in the street, in bars, at the bank, at wawa, and from every supportive voice i feel the same strong wind; a powerful undercurrent that tells me this conversation is absolutely worth having.
there are also people who don't appreciate my transparency. they are scared for me, they say. of me, perhaps. they are scared for my family, they caution. they are scared, yes, but i do not carry their fear with me like i carry the support of others. the support propels me along toward deeper truths, a gentle breeze in my proverbial sails; the fear is a weight that tugs on the heart, somebody else's anchor - not my own.
but the thing itself that leads to support or fear seems to stem from what is the most natural anchor in the world: the family. what a family is and what a family does are not nearly as cut-and-dried as we might have thought as children, but it remains a reality for all of us. for me, it has finally become a bit more simple...
i am a member of the human race, a child in the family of Life.
i'll assume, if you're still reading this than you would probably consider yourself a part of that same whole.
but what is it that you believe? what has led you here? i mean, what's this conversation *really* about?
not entirely, anyway.
but i'm writing this in the wake of having a bunch of people that don't even know that i consider them family share their money with me...and to that end, i suppose now's as good a time as any to say, once and for all:
as nuts as it feels to say this...
and crazy as it may seem to announce,
my family and i don't need any more of your money
you beautiful, kind-hearted people, you.
this is not say we aren't *completely* stunned at what your money has now afforded us. quite the contrary, on all counts. we're in fact floored at the generosity that's been displayed thus far. i repeat: your selflessness has wrapped itself around my family like a warm blanket, in all ways .
you have taken care of everything.
we have enough.
which is to say we have none, but that is enough.
what money you've shared with us isn't ours. we didn't have it two weeks ago and now - through some funny little process involving thumb taps and mouse clicks - a bank account tells us that we do. it's funny. to live in a world where seeing is believing, i saw little more than numbers on websites before it all went to where it has to go to keep our little part of the conversation going. it's incredible, but we're not disillusioned by it.
we don't believe in money like that.
it's nothing more than 1s and 0s bouncing around between satellites and bank accounts. it's not ' real' when measured against the laws of nature. but it seems to hold immense power in this world we've built for ourselves.
so be it.
you have empowered us greatly, then. each and every one of you.
we'll use the momentum to make a film; to pay friends to help us make the best film we're capable of making. we'll use it to fight weed prohibition in some small way, if we can. we'll give it away for free.
because this conversation is too important to sell, or buy, or market, to anyone.
though, while we're on the subject, if you STILL feel compelled to give; if you still want to show you care by sending us your hard-earned USD, by all means, give.
support this conversation in whatever ways you're able.
and know this:
$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $
*EVERY* dollar given from here on out, , will be donated to parents4pot.org and freedomgrow.org: two incredible non-profits run by wonderful plant pioneers that *your* money will go toward growing.
$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $
we're doing it (donating the extra cash to charity) to keep the conversation at hand focused on what's real, and open - not distract each other with intangible currency.
with that said, the final thought. the one that inspired this whole letter in the first place...
people have asked me how long i plan to keep this gofundme up.
they're curious how long i'll let it run for.
here's my answer: i'm keeping this line of communication wide open, kids. indefinitely. as long as it takes.
for the sake of baring witness.
i'll keep this conversation going between us.
maybe when this documentary finally comes out, months from now, it will be my time to shut this thing down and move to another mode of communication altogether. we shall see.
i just wanted to let you know i'm here, everybody. i will be here.
looking ahead. looking upward.
ready and willing, to talk.
i'd like to start this one off by saying that i have absolutely no idea how to start this one off. i'm that unsure of how to put this, and my heart is that full, broken and bloody from all the authenticity you've bestowed upon it this past week.
Bravo, everybody. bravo.
you've rendered an otherwise highly talkative man touched, overwhelmed to the point of silence by your generosity. i'm struggling to find the words lately because of you. i really am.
i mean, what's transpired over the past week or so...the nine thousand dollars raised...the 250 some-odd individuals who've shared their money to help me make this film...the thousands of people who've shared this story and reached out to me via email, computer, phone and in person...it's felt. i feel it and i'm otherwise left speechless.
as waldo's uncle dango might say:
"it's a failure of language..."
but on behalf of every sick person out there who can't afford any more of the failure that comes with not even attempting to speak, for those dying in a hospital or dying inside somewhere, dying to Know, suffering without hope, too scared to say they are scared, some feeling dead already...
on behalf of all the families (biological & otherwise) who express love so selflessly, who have died or nearly died right along with the loved ones they so desperately tried to protect;
on behalf of all the millions of people who don't yet understand, or believe, that plants (and the Earth that they grow from) and how we approach them holds the key to the survival of our species... on behalf of everybody who doesn't know how to start the conversation that is hanging in the air in 2016, here goes:
do you believe in the conversation?
It's a conversation about openness.
about being open to sharing without fear...
(cont'd in pt. Il)...