Medical marijuana refugee Toni Anderson dies in El Paso
Toni Anderson has died after a long battle with cancer.
She had been fighting cervical cancer and other issues since December 2012 before passing on Monday.
Her husband Colt DeMorris founded El Paso NORML in January 2014. Colt said he founded the local chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws after watching both his grandfather and mother lose their fights with cancer.
She began treatment in January of 2013, receiving chemotherapy until May, after which her radio-oncologist said that Toni’s tumor seemed to be going down and everything looked fine. Her oncologist concurred.
During this time Toni consumed marijuana medicinally to help with the side-effects of chemotherapy, which enabled her to endure the pain, fight off nausea, and help with her lack of appetite. Her doctors noted that she did very well during her treatments, and Toni attributed that to her use of cannabis.
In December of 2013 Toni began having severe abdominal pain and was rushed to the hospital. A subsequent trip in January, the first of many, revealed that part of her intestine had closed from the radiation treatments she had received and it created a blockage. Toni went into surgery to fix the problem and was in the hospital for two weeks.
Between January and June, she was admitted to the hospital a total of six times. Over the course of these admissions Toni was diagnosed with radiation colitis, which resulted from severe radiation damage she received during prior treatments.
On July 4, Toni was admitted to the hospital for the seventh time in 2014, this time for a blockage in her colon. Tests later revealed another mass where her cancer was before.
Facing chemotherapy again, Toni had already lost around 100 pounds between January and July. She continued to lose even more as her body would no longer take in the nutrients.
Both Toni and Colt considered moving to a medical marijuana state, where she believed that she would have a better chance fighting off the cancer. They were unable to move though.
She considered herself a medical refugee, unable to access the medicine that would help in her fight.
“The world has lost a warrior who fought long and hard, not we must fight long and hard in Toni’s and the rest of the patients across Texas that could benefit from cannabis” Colt states.