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items tagged with cancer

Medical Marijuana in Iowa Is Long Overdue
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Editorials

2014-07-09 14:30:31

On Monday, July 7, before the jury was brought in for his trial, Benton Mackenzie collapsed in the courtroom and was taken to Trinity Medical Center in Bettendorf. On Tuesday, however, the Long Grove, Iowa, resident accused of manufacturing marijuana had reportedly been released from the hospital and testified in his own defense.

For those new to this matter before the Seventh Judicial Court District in Scott County – presided over by Judge Henry Latham (appointed by Governor Terry Branstad in March 2013) – Benton and his wife Loretta were arrested a year ago and charged with growing marijuana, while their son Cody was arrested and charged with possession of less than a gram of marijuana because ... well, just because.

Benton stated, in media reports last year, that he was growing marijuana for the singular purpose of extracting the cannabidiol oil contained in the marijuana plant to treat his angiosarcoma cancer, purportedly in a terminal phase. According to Benton, nothing else but the cannabidiol oil relieves the extreme suffering he is experiencing from horrific lesions that manifest on his posterior. Unfortunately, cannabidiol is extremely expensive. It can be purchased on Amazon.com, among many places, for medicinal purposes because it does not contain THC, and therefore it is not illegal in the U.S. For most people, however, the cost is prohibitive, especially as an ongoing treatment.

So painful and prolific are his symptoms that he was released from the Scott County jail days after his initial incarceration, allegedly because the county did not want the responsibility for or expense of his health care, nor was the facility equipped to handle his extreme case.

The office of County Attorney Mike Walton, however, has aggressively expended tax dollars in prosecuting this invalid, his family, and his friends, but only if Benton is not allowed the common-law defense of growing marijuana for medical purposes. The prosecution submitted a motion in limine that was approved by Judge Latham to disallow any mention of his production or use of marijuana for medical purposes.


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Personal Science: Sandra Steingraber, October 22 at St. Ambrose University
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: News/Features

Category: Environment

2013-10-16 18:49:00

Sandra Steingraber. Photo by Dede Hatch.

Sandra Steingraber has bachelor and doctorate degrees in biology and a master’s in creative writing. “I had long been a biologist by day and poet by night,” she said in a phone interview earlier this month. “I kind of kept my writing world and my science world separate.”

And that was her intention when she set out to write the book that would become Living Downstream. “It was going to represent my best attempt as a biologist to summarize the links between cancer and the environment,” she said.

But the poet in her ended up transforming the project into something unusual: a deeply personal story intertwined with a scientific one, as Steingraber discusses her own cancer in the context of the troubling relationship between chemical pollution and the disease. The hook of the book, she said, is “the life behind one of the data points in the cancer registry, namely my own.”

Steingraber will be speaking at St. Ambrose University on October 22 as part of the school’s Sustainability Project, which includes events throughout the academic year. Her lecture, she said, will apply the “conceptual theme” of Living Downstream (originally published in 1997, with a second edition and film adaptation released in 2010) to fracking – induced hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas and petroleum.


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Riders Go Cross-Country for Cancer
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: News/Features

Category: Feature Stories

2009-07-08 11:38:29

Drew Wessels and Danny LeonardThe two men came to the cross-country bike ride in different ways.

For Danny Leonard, a cancer survivor in his late 60s, the idea for a second cross-country ride arose from a conversation he had two years ago while running on a treadmill next to a young man preparing for a marathon. As the men ran next to each other for almost two hours, the young man explained to Leonard that running the marathon would be his way to raise awareness for leukemia and lymphoma research. The conversation left Leonard wondering what he could do to advocate screening for and raise awareness about the disease he had battled -- non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He decided to place an advertisement on Craigslist looking for a Christian who was interested in riding across the United States to raise awareness of the importance of early detection.

For Drew Wessels, an Augustana College graduate and Bettendorf native in his early 20s who stumbled across the listing while looking for a job, it was an opportunity to honor the grandfather he lost to leukemia three years ago.

But for both men it was the right time for the ride. This year marks the 10th anniversary of Leonard being cancer-free, and of his first ride across the country. Wessels, whose summers were usually consumed by basketball or school, found himself with a rare free summer. "The one time I actually had the opportunity, that something like this came by is pretty neat," Wessels said. 2009 also marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.


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