The actor who plays Professor X is becoming just as heroic as his character. In the X universe, Charles Xavier founded the School for Gifted Youngsters to protect special need kids from a society that didn’t understand them. And that sounds a whole lot like what Sir Patrick Stewart is doing as he speaks up for the rights of Alfie Dingley, a British six year-old who suffers from a rare and especially disabling form of epilepsy.
Dingley has sometimes suffered up to 150 seizures a month, but found his symptoms eased while using medical cannabis oil. Current laws in the UK don’t permit Dingley to legally use medical marijuana, which is why his parents temporarily moved him to Holland where he could undergo treatment.
“How could one not support Alfie?” Stewart said, according to the Daily Mail. “There has never been a stronger case for the legalization of medical marijuana.”
Stewart is a medical marijuana patient himself. When in California, he uses doctor-recommended cannabis to treat his arthritis. But, like Alfie, when in England he is forced to use more traditional treatment methods.
“I had to have eight steroid injections in my fingers and knuckles, which was about as painful as anything one could imagine, because medicinal cannabis is not available here.”
Alfie too uses steroids as a substitute for cannabis, and his parents are not happy with the results. “The steroids have side effects, they make people more aggressive and we’ve seen a change in his behaviour,” Alfie’s father Drew said.
Drew Dingley and Alfie’s mother Hannah Deacon have organized a hugely successful petition which has so far gathered 380,000 signatures. Stewart is not the only big name on the petition. Billionaire business mogul Sir Richard Branson and actress Joanna Lumley (Absolutely Fabulous, The Wolf of Wall Street) have also lent their names to the campaign.