TAMPA - Dahlia is fighting brain cancer after surgery to remove part of an aggressive tumor at St. Joseph's Hospital. Now, her mother says she just wants to get her to her third birthday, with the help of a type of marijuana that's been shown to reduce cancerous tumors.
"Dalia's 2. She's almost 3 at the end of the month,” said mom Moriah Barnhart.
This Tampa mom knows there are no guarantees in life, not even third birthdays.
"They sedated Dahlia and took her in for an MRI,” she said in a YouTube video.
"I'm under the impression this was about as aggressive as it could be. It spread to her brain stem in the three weeks since her surgery to remove the portion of the tumor they could remove,” she told me via Skype.
Doctors diagnosed the cancerous tumor on May 5. Then Barnhart says she chose to take Dahlia to St. Jude's in Memphis, Tenn., where she's now being treated with chemotherapy and drugs.
But the treatment Barnhart is fighting for may take other parents off guard.
"To tell me that you would have given that to a 2 year old right before her diagnosis probably would have horrified me at this point I completely understand that it's safer and it's necessary."
Barnhart says medical marijuana, in liquid form, has been shown to reduce cancerous tumors.
"Generally, it’s an extract from the drug as morphine is. You extract it from the plant and you take it in liquid form," she said.
The Tampa mom is petitioning the Obama administration and telling her story on YouTube.
"Until the federal prohibition is lifted, no surgeons in hospitals are going to abide my state laws over federal laws so in a situation where you're critically ill and you're not trying to just treat symptoms and side effects, I want studies done. I want the anti-tumor effects of these drugs to be better known," she said.
She says conventional medicine has proven lifesaving for Dahlia but she still needs to fight to make it to her third birthday.
"She's going to have organ damage. She's going to have brain damage and I would really like to prevent that if at all possible and if not for her, for people in the future,” said Barnhart.