First in a three-part special Father’s Day Series – we reintroduce the story of Cash “Cashy” Hyde.
Nearly three years ago, Mike Hyde lost his youngest son to cancer. While the heart-breaking and inspiring story of Cash Hyde has been shared before, this Father’s Day, June 21st would also have been the 7th birthday of “Cashy”, we felt it an appropriate time to share this compelling tale again and reveal how a father’s unspeakable loss has led to action, support and the continued fight in the hope of preventing the loss of even one more child.
Cash Hyde – Devastating Diagnosis – The Battle Begins
On May 3, 2010 at only 20 months old, radiologist’s at Community Medical Center in Missoula, MT discovered a 4.5 cm, stage 4 brain tumor in Mike and Kalli Hyde’s son – Cash. “Cashy” (as he was affectionately called) was transported on life flight to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, UT where he was placed in the NTU intensive care unit. Immediately, his tiny body was subject to emergency surgery to remove the tumor which resulted in temporary blindness.
Shortly thereafter, oncologist’s diagnosed Cashy with a malignant and aggressive cancer classified as a PNET brain tumor. The result was relentless cycles of high dose chemotherapy followed by a procedure called “stem cell rescue”, a procedure rarely used as a traditional treatment for childhood cancers.
Devastated and bewildered, the Hyde family briefly went home to Missoula, quickly packing their belongings and preparing themselves for the battle of a lifetime. For Cashy, “home” became the hospital bed he lay in for weeks on end. For his family – home became a trailer they parked in the alley of the hospital with the life flight helipad directly overhead. .
Cannabis Oil – A Father’s Last Hope
For a time, Cash was defying the odds and seemed to be enduring the horrendous side-effects of traditional cancer treatment protocols, and even regained his vision. But then, Mike saw his son begin to waste away, having eaten nothing for 40 days. The doctors leveled with him: at this rate, there was also a strong likelihood that Cash could die due to organ failure or drug overdose from the nausea and pain medication he was receiving. Mike knew this couldn’t continue.
Desperate to find anything to keep Cashy alive, funding, or worse.
Mike Hyde and his family essentially became “medical outlaws” –obtaining the oil in Montana (where medical cannabis was legal to obtain) and secretly putting it through Cash’s feeding tube. The result was almost immediate. Where his little body lay wasting away and in chronic pain just a few days earlier, Cashy started eating again, raising his head off the hospital bed pillow and even recovering his desire to play.
The Youngest Medical Cannabis Patient in the United States – A Pioneer
Cash became the youngest medical cannabis patient in the United States, and the first pediatric cancer patient to receive full cranial and spinal radiation without the use of any conventional nausea and pain medications – only 0.3 ml of cannabis oil given around the clock. Even more remarkable, Cash’s cancer immediately went into remission, and he started to live a more normal life. The news began to spread about this little boy and the extraordinary results medical cannabis was producing.
Montana Cracks Down – Cash Loses Access to Medical Cannabis Oil
In 2011, law enforcement officials in Montana came down hard on the medical marijuana industry. Rather than face the risk of being stormed by armed agents and subjected to steep fines or jail time, many legally-compliant medical cannabis dispensaries in Montana closed down.
The federal crackdown resulted in the closure of most of the medical marijuana dispensaries in Montana, and cut off the Hyde’s access to the therapeutic cannabis oil that was keeping Cash’s cancer at bay. Once Cash’s medication was cut off, his cancer came back out of remission.
United Patients Group Steps In
Later that year, the founder of United Patients Group, John Malanca, had met the Hyde’s when Cash was receiving radiation treatment at Loma Linda University in California. During the summer of 2012 John learned that Cashy’s cancer had returned, but that the Hyde’s were no longer able to access the cannabis oil treatment he so desperately needed. John realized United Patients Group had to get involved. “We put out a call to action, asking people to donate cannabis oil for Cash’s health—and there was a heart-warming outpouring of donors and support,” said Malanca. “Unfortunately, by the time we got Cash the medication he needed, his cancer could no longer be controlled.”
A Little Life Lost – But His Story Lives On
Cashy was about to become another casualty in the federal government’s war on voter-approved medical marijuana.
On November 14, 2012 Cash Hyde passed away in his father’s arms at their home in Montana.
Tomorrow – second in our three-part special Father’s Day Series – we fast forward since Mike Hyde lost his young son to cancer and see what’s changed, and how a father and family learn to move beyond the pain.
Directly to the Cash Hyde Foundation…Thank You.