When Tatyana “Tuffy” Rivera was just 10 months old, she suffered a reaction to one of the many, many pharmaceuticals she was given for her epilepsy. She was in severe danger of having her airway closed off and not being able to breathe. “These drugs either did nothing or made her worse,” says Ricardo Rivera, Tuffy’s father. “She averaged between 25-50 full Grandmal seizures and over 300 total seizures daily.” Not only would she suffer these horrendous seizures, she would also suffer from withdrawal that came with the pharmaceutical drug treatments.
Ricardo and Jennifer, Tuffy’s mother, knew that there had to be another alternative to these harmful drugs. Pharmaceuticals failed her at all costs. That’s when Ricardo decided to try cannabis oil. He makes this oil right in his kitchen, and the first day he gave Tuffy the oil, she had her first seizure free day in 3 years. How amazing is that?
Before the cannabis oil, Tuffy had to wear a helmet mostly all day and night to protect herself in case of a seizure. “It was like we were scared to leave the house. Sound could trigger a seizure, a car horn,” says Jennifer. She was completely spaced out from all of the prescriptions the doctors were giving her. Clearly, big pharma was NOT the answer.
Fast forward: Tuffy is now 9 years old and thriving. The cannabis oil has reduced her seizures by 95% and it helps combat her autism. The high THC content helps not only with her seizure control, but also with her sleep and diet. Tuffy started to feed herself about 3 years ago. The first two years were quite messy, but in the past year, the improvement is so magnificent. Tuffy is more cautious with spilling and dropping food, which is a very BIG milestone with her condition. She’s also now able to go to the bathroom on her own. This may not seem like much to someone with a 9 year old, but when Tuffy spent most of her days seizing, there wasn’t much room for normal development. Since the cannabis oil, she has been able to develop more socially, cognitively, including her speech. She’s even saying “Mom!”
Unfortunately, the cannabis laws in New Jersey are very, VERY restricted. If Ricardo were to give Tuffy her medicine in another state, he could go to jail, because it is still federally illegal. The only safe zone he has to give his daughter her medication is in their own state.
“Stoned Still”, a unique brand in the cannabis industry heard about Tuffy’s story and started using the brand to spread the awareness of epilepsy. The proceeds that were made from the #TuffysFight shirt help Tuffy and her family with assistance.
“#Tuffysfight is known and loved locally in New Jersey and on the East Coast. Stoned still would like to help make this love and awareness International because cannabis is medicine and meds are meds. Medical Marijuana is giving adults and children, like Tuffy, their life back, and a life to live. The recreational is bringing unity and crime down, and legally boosting economy”- Stoned Still
Now, Ricardo and Jennifer are fighting, along with thousands of other families, patients, and caregivers to make cannabis federally legal. Tuffy’s Fight has made appearances at the Philly Smoke Sesh, Boston Freedom Rally, and Women Grow NJ. And they have no plans to stop there.
Just back in September, Ricardo went to Washington D.C. to stand in front of the White House where medical cannabis patients from around the country peacefully protested the DEA’s decision not to reschedule cannabis in the Controlled Substances Act. The DEA concluded that marijuana had no medicinal value again, which we all know to be a big fat lie. The government has had a patent on medical cannabis oil since 2003. Ricardo decided to open up to strangers in front of the white house, and tell them all about Tuffy’s story.
“Many people opened up. The annoying and rude comments turned into positive thoughts and vibes. Changing minds and educating is the key to our movement” said Ricardo.
I had the pleasure of meeting this beautiful family. I can honestly say they deserve nothing but the absolute best. Ricardo and Jennifer give their all for their little girl and more. I’m proud to support such a strong and courageous little girl, and her family. Thank you for inviting me into your world and allowing me to share Tuffy’s story.
What Ricardo said is so very true “Changing minds and educating is the key to our movement.”
Who’s ready to join the movement, not hate, but educate? I know I am.
For more information on #tuffysfight, you can find them here:
Instagram: @tuffysfight //@stonedstill