Second in a three-part special Father’s Day Series – we catch up with Mike Hyde – father of young Cash Hyde who lost his heroic battle to cancer in 2012.
As Father’s Day nears (and what would have been “Cashy’s” 7th birthday), Mike shares the realities of his triumphs, disappointments and daily life since losing his youngest son.
It’s been nearly 3 years since Mike and Kalli Hyde buried their young son, Cash, after losing his battle with malignant brain cancer. As told in yesterday’s post, Cash (“Cashy” as he was affectionately known) became the first and youngest ‘legal’ medical cannabis patient in the United States (a pioneer for children battling illness toady), 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.
Cashy’s story made national and international headlines. Thousands of people followed his story across the internet, on television and in newspapers worldwide. After the loss of his son, in the midst of unspeakable grief, Mike Hyde took the pain and despair that would normally plunge anyone into a deep depression, and began a crusade bent on educating and advocating for others like his little boy. The family established the Cash Hyde Foundation. A non-profit who’s mission statement reads: “…to raise pediatric cancer and medical cannabis awareness and to fight cancer with smiles.” In the early days of the foundation’s work, donations were plentiful and the energy and support were too.
The organization has become known for donating “Reggae Runners” – customized Little Tike’s cozy cruisers and wagons with IV poles mounted to them. Foundation volunteers work tirelessly building and delivering Reggae Runners to children’s hospitals across the country. In just three years, the foundation has managed to donate over 100 Reggae Runners to hospitals in Arizona, California, Colorado, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, Utah, and Washington.
So how is Mike spending Father’s Day this year? “This year for Cashy’s birthday – which happens to be on Father’s Day, my son Colten and I are traveling to California to build and deliver some Reggae Runners to a pediatric hospital.” You can hear in his voice that he genuinely enjoys seeing tangible good being done, and that it somehow helps to assuage the painful memory of losing his little boy.
“In the beginning, after the surge of publicity and interest in Cashy’s story, my wife and I felt compelled to do something that would honor our son, while also raising awareness of pediatric cancer and how medical cannabis made an enormous impact in our son’s life.”
Medical cannabis became the lynchpin in Cashy’s treatment and initial remission. It was
only after the federal government began to severely crack down on medical cannabis dispensaries in Montana, that the Hyde’s were suddenly unable to access the cannabis oil they had been using (successfully) to treat and heal their son. They eventually received donations of cannabis oil after United Patients Group learned of their plight and put the word out that this family needed help. But it was too late. Cashy’s cancer had become too advanced to overcome – this time.
Mike Hyde is a passionate man. To speak with him is to get an education and straightforward depiction of how he views the progress (or lack thereof) the government
has made towards legalizing medical cannabis. His dreams of positively affecting change through the Cash Hyde Foundation have been met with the reality of how difficult it is to compete with other non-profits when it comes to attracting large-scale donors. “Yes, while I’m optimistic about the work we’ve started with the foundation, the reality is that, when it comes to the subject of medical cannabis, major corporations and other large donors will give millions each year to other pediatric cancer non-profits. But, because of the stigma that still surrounds cannabis…well, let’s just say we’re feeling a bit let down.”
His determination, however, is still palpable when he speaks to groups or other activists fighting to get the lawmakers – and the general public – to “not leave the cancer kids behind” when considering legalizing cannabis for medical purposes.
On this Father’s Day, Mike Hyde will be surrounded by his wife and children. The absence of their son Cashy (who would have turned seven years old on the same day) is an ache that is still felt powerfully. But this dad holds his son’s hand each and every day as he continues to evangelize how medical cannabis allowed young Cashy to live a life that resembled something a bit more normal, and dignified, if even for only a short time.