Chemo or Cannabis: Should Tampa toddler with leukemia be forced to take chemo?

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – For Noah McAdams, fighting cancer now also involves fighting the system.

Three-year-old Noah was recently diagnosed with leukemia, and while Tampa Bay area doctors recommended chemotherapy, his parents want a more organic approach to treating their young son’s cancer.

One that includes cannabis, vitamins and a strict diet.

The Tampa toddler has already gone through rounds of chemo. 

However, when the child’s parents recently left Florida with him, en route to Ohio for a second opinion, they were stopped in Kentucky by law enforement.

Shortly after, they lost custody of Noah, who is now staying with his grandparents.

“In my opinion, if he stays separated from us, whether they follow through with traditional, modern medicine for him or not, then he is just going to be completely stressed out. And, honestly, it is going to kill him,” Noah’s mother, Taylor Bland, told WFLA Tuesday morning at a court hearing in downtown Tampa.

His parents say they’re grateful that a Hillsborough judge is taking time in court to hear their concerns.

The judge did not make a final ruling on Tuesday, but instead ordered that the hearing be continued on Wednesday morning so additional doctors could testify.

“I am really thankful that the judge didn’t make a decision today. That she is allowing more witnesses to come in, that she is allowing more information to be exposed about this treatment,” Bland said.

One St. Petersburg dad knows exactly what Noah’s parents are up against as they go through a difficult time.

Charles Gallagher’s little girl, Caroline, battled leukemia at the same age.

“It’s a diagnosis no one wants to get. I feel bad for the family. I feel bad for Noah. It tugs on your heartstrings. Absolutely, it’s a tough diagnosis,” Gallagher shared with WFLA.

After receiving chemotherapy, his daughter is now in remission at age 5.

“Chemo does what it’s meant to do, chemo kills the cancer,” he said. “We were happy with the outcome. Caroline is cancer free.”

As an attorney, Gallagher understands both sides and is hoping Noah feels better soon. 

“You can see the competing interest on one side, the best interest of the child, their welfare taken care of. Then, on the other side, parents should have some control over the health of their children,” he said.

The local dad says his heart goes out to Noah’s mom and dad.

“I don’t think anyone doubts their motivation. They want what’s best for their child. They want what’s best for him,” Charles told us.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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