Steven Robert Peek is a carpenter and father from Brisbane. From 2008 until 2017 was a full time carer for his little daughter Suli.
Suli was a normal infant but by the age of nine months had started developing feeding problems and at 12 months contracted influenza A which resulted in a bout of pneumonia. While in hospital she also contracted swine flu. From here she began to regress and had her first seizure when she was 15 months old. Then began a downward spiral of regression, hospital admissions and between 100 to 200 tonic clonic seizures per day. Despite the use of large numbers of anti-convulsant medications with their attendant and horrendous side effects Suli was at this point never seizure free.
In April 2015, with all other pharmaceutical options exhausted and desperate to relieve Suli’s suffering, the family tried Medicinal Cannabis. They noticed an immediate improvement.
The medicine had Suli more alert, happier and suffering none of the sever side effects experienced with previous drugs. There were no hospital admissions for more than a year and a ninety percent reduction in seizures.
In 2013 a lesion had been found on Suli’s brain and a tumour suspected – though a biopsy considered too risky. Nevertheless it was monitored and after 8 months on Cannabis oil the tumour had disappeared. Despite this Suli continued to regress but Cannabis helped her maintain a reasonable quality of life although other problems arose from the damage done by long term use of anti convulsants and the Keto diet she had at one stage been prescribed.
On the 19th October 2017 Suli was admitted to hospital because of stomach problems due to an intolerance of a specialised diet and was being trialed on a new formula. On the 21st October at nine years of age she died suddenly and unexpectedly in hospital, her death now under investigation by the Coroner.
For the last years of her life (and since) Steve and his wife Joyce have been passionate advocates for Medicinal Cannabis, fighting a long (and ultimately losing) battle with the Queensland State bureaucracy for legal access to Medicinal Cannabis for Suli and for the use of this medicine in the hospital in which she was treated. They hope her legacy will see all children with intractable epilepsy given the right and opportunity to try Cannabis as a legal alternative to other AEDs with their terrible side-effects, especially when proven ineffective.
With the help of Teresa Nicoletti of the law firm Mills Oakley Steve has applied to the Coroner for a full Public Inquest into Suli’s death – so the battle is one that continues while Suli lives on in our hearts and minds.
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