My name is Sarah Runge, and I am a United States combat veteran. I am also I medical marijuana refugee.
I was born in Missouri, a sixth generation farmer’s daughter, and though I grew up country, I always wanted to see the world. So, at 18, I joined the Army and, at 21, they sent me to war. Although my time in service was an honor, it was not kind to my health. There are many things I must endure while I wait for Missouri to have a cannabis program that works.
The conditions that affect my life the most, Myoclonic Jerks and Ulcerative Colitis (UC), keep me from doing even the most basic tasks. The Myoclonis is the most noticeable by others. They are random, involuntary, and extremely painful. Some days I am afflicted by thousands of these spasms. Ulcerative Colitis, an auto immune condition, affects my digestive system. In short, my body refuses to absorb the nutrients I need to be healthy. This causes nausea, cramping, and an extreme amount of unfavorable stools a day. It has caused my hair to fall out and my teeth to crumble, despite the fact that I am only 32 years old.
Unfortunately, I am not alone. Thousands of Missouri’s veterans suffer from debilitating medical conditions that prevent them from living their lives to their full potential. Even if their doctors believe that cannabis therapy would be their best treatment, Missouri law would punish them for protecting their health. That’s wrong, but we can set it right!
This past April as my symptoms progressed, I knew exactly the medicine I needed and where I needed to go to find it. Moving to a legal state was not an option. Luckily, Oregon had a law that was open to non-residents. So with the help of family, friends, and a GoFundMe, my girlfriend drove me the 2000 plus miles across the country to get a particular high THC Marijuana oil called RSO or Rick Simpson Oil.
Within 24 hours of my first dose, I went from housebound to a six mile hike. I will say I probably overdid it that day, but my shakes disappeared and my UC went into full remission. My time in Oregon was magical, and it’s time to bring that magic home to Missouri! I am a sixth generation farmers daughter, I shouldn’t have to leave the state for a plant that I can grow next to my tomatoes. We all deserve access to safe medications that work.
You can help create access to medical cannabis for veterans and tens of thousands of others in Missouri by supporting New Approach Missouri’s 2016 initiative campaign. Wednesday is Veteran’s Day, so in honor of all those who have given so much to our country, go here to take our Veteran’s Day Pledge and commit to contributing $5, $10, $25, $50, or more Wednesday.
I know that Missourians care about the state’s veterans, but we can do better simply by giving vets more of the freedoms that they fought so hard to defend. Help give veterans a choice in their medicine. Make your pledge now!
Sixth Generation Missourian