Meet Our Team

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Jill Swing

Jill SwingYou never know how hard you will fight for something until you have something worth fighting for.  For me, that fight is for my daughter, Mary Louise, and for legal access to medical cannabis to treat her severe intractable epilepsy.  Mary Louise started having seizures while she was a baby.  Many medications and diets were for reducing her seizures, which were sometimes over 1,000 per day in frequency.

She lost her ability to talk, walk independently and had become a drug-endured “couch potato” thanks to many pharmaceutical drugs she was prescribed. After hearing about success parents were having treating there children’s epilepsy with low-THC cannabis, I began fighting for legal access to the same medication for people in SC. Unfortunately, as in many states that passed similar CBD possession-only legislation in 2014, legal access was still an issue due to Federal Law prohibiting any form of marijuana from crossing state lines.

Part of the CDB Bill also included a State-appointed Medical Marijuana Study Committee to which I was appointed thanks to my advocacy and support in getting the bill passed. We held meetings around the state and heard testimony about the benefits and need for cannabis for medicine, not just for epilepsy, but for all sorts of ailments. Over the last two years, I have continued to advocate for a comprehensive medical cannabis program for South Carolina that will make cannabis treatment an option for anyone who may benefit.

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Chris Raffield

Chris RaffieldI was a South Carolina State Trooper for 17 years. In 2011 my hands began to shake, shortly after that i began to fall daily. It was determined i had tumors on my spine. I had surgery to remove the tumors. I then began to lose weight. I was 330 pounds and in less than a year i was down to 140 pounds. I was dying. All medicines failed and some made it worse.

I changed Doctors and at his suggestion I tried marijuana. My appetite can back up, my pain was under control. Marijuana saved my life. In 2013 I began to go to the State House and advocate for medical marijuana. I have studied marijuana as medicine for 6 years and continue to this day.

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Shanna Harris

In 2014 I began my attempts to find alternative treatment options for my beloved pet. Dying from seizures brought on from heart-worm prevention medication, and suffering with the adverse effects of anti-seizure medication, I knew we needed a miracle. That’s when we found the SC Compassionate Care Alliance.

Surrounding the suffrage of patients and their families, desperate for the same relief that I was looking for, was a very determined group of advocates. These advocates were fighting for access to a medicine that reportedly relieved present symptoms – without causing new ones!

I lost my pet, but I turned the grief into action. Working with the Upstate SCCCA group, I went to work bringing awareness to the need for healthier, alternative treatments for pain and debilitating conditions. I worked to bring education about a misunderstood treatment option to those that do not understand the medicinal values of Cannabis.

It is my hope that patients will have access to the medication they need, and that families will be restored to a more comfortable quality of life. It is my hope that one day our pets can receive better medicines so that they too can live healthier, longer and stronger lives with our families.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_column_text css_animation=”bottom-to-top”]

April Merritt Pace

April Merritt PaceAt the age of seven, my vibrant daughter Dixie came home from school and promptly went into full Epileptic Status. After a week in ICU, doctors felt she would outgrow them. That was the first of many wrongs. Seizures increased and she eventually was having multiple types.

Medications changed, VNS Implant, diet change and in August 2014, she turned 17, no more options and she declined to the point we didn’t believe she would be here for Christmas. That is when our Cannabis Journey began with the possibility of wearing Jail Orange or Funeral Black. After many fumbles and mistakes, we started seeing results, REAL Results!!

But it wasn’t enough, we needed whole plant and strain access and protection for her to take her Medicine. During these past few years, I have met so many fabulous families and realized Dixie has something not all families are blessed with, a Voice. Together, Dixie and I use our voices to educate and bring awareness with hopes of legality in SC.

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Quan Williams

My name is Quan Williams. I’m a Navy veteran and a mother of three wonderful children. Cameron (12), Gabrielle (9), and Talia (2). I also am soon to be married to Talmadge D. Jenkins who plays a huge role in this journey as well.

I started this fight to advocate for my amazingly strong son Cameron. He has severe intractable epilepsy. He was diagnosed with this horrendous condition at the very tender age of four months old.

Twelve years later we are still fighting with little to no progress. After numerous counts of treatments to include: diets, medicines, surgeries, and more the only real relief we’ve found is in cbd oil. However we need more! He is the fire behind my family’s fight!

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Jamie Stone

As an advocate from Greenville SC, I believe that medical cannabis is an option for those who have debilitating conditions. I came across this option while seeking help for my wife’s conditions. Cannabis was the farthest thing on my mind, however from the people who swore by it, it peeked my interest. Hundreds of users claimed that was a better way to treat my wife’s condition. Most of them were on the same medications, Lyrica, which has tremendous side effects. Stunned that my wife was getting worse every month by the FDA, tested medication, I began to reach out to those who were using cannabis.

Individuals told me their story of how they began feeling better after shortly beginning this new treatment. They could do things they haven’t been able to do in years without severe pain. Going to the store, having time with their children, driving long distances for vacation, were some of the things these people were able to do again.

After intense research and testimonies, I was convinced that this plant called Cannabis was an option for my wife. But due to living in SOUTH CAROLINA, she only can hear they testimonies. She cant use any of the plant. Her doctors refuse and will dismiss her as a patient if she does. But the next state over and the other states with legal medical cannabis, the people are getting the relief they deserve after years of suffering. It is my hope that cannabis be made legal for every person to have the option, with the help of a certified doctor, to treat themselves with a plant we can grow in out back yard.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_column_text css_animation=”bottom-to-top”]

Michelle Ann “Mak” Davis, RN, CMSRN

Michelle DavisI graduated from Greenville Technical College in 2000, with an Associates Degree in Nursing Sciences. I’m a member of the Association of Medical Surgical Nurses (AMSN), and the American Cannabis Nurses Association (ACNA). I’ve worked several fields of nursing, to include; Trauma, Medical-Surgical, Urology, Orthopedics, and currently (for last 6 years) Behavioral Medicine.

Watching the ones you love suffer, and suffering yourself, is not only exhausting, but heartbreaking. That is why I became involved with advocacy, and the fight for safe, legal access to medicinal cannabis. My father, and uncles are Vietnam Veterans, with medical conditions (diabetes, neuropathy, PTSD, cancer, liver cirrhosis etc.) related to exposure to Agent Orange during their service.

My brothers are Veterans with PTSD, and other service related conditions, in addition to medical conditions from 2nd generation Agent Orange exposure. My uncle was virtually a zombie due to his medications for pain & PTSD, and began medicating with cannabis instead. He is able to function much better than he was able to on all the medications and chemicals prescribed to him. My cousins also are effected by 2nd generation Agent Orange exposure. One cousin had testicular cancer at age 30, and another had endometriosis which resulted in her requiring a hysterectomy by age 28. Her children have autism.

I also have medical conditions related to 2nd generation Agent Orange exposure, including chronic neck and back pain with spasms, fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and a plethora of other medical conditions. I too had to have a hysterectomy at age 28 due to chronic pain from endometriosis. My daughter has 3rd generation Agent Orange related medical conditions. She has a seizure disorder, angioedema, fibromyalgia, osteoporosis, Stevens-Johnson Syndrome with Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN) overlap, and a plethora of other medical & mental conditions. She has been on medication for her seizure disorder since age 13, and now has liver failure from the different medications she’s been on. She’s only 21 years old. Medicinal Cannabis would help with all of our conditions, and is a much safer alternative than the medications and chemicals we take now.

Many of the very medications we take, are responsible for the deaths of others. Cannabis has caused NO deaths. In addition to my family and friends, thousands of South Carolinians could benefit from legal access to this safe, effective medicine, that’s been used for thousands of years. As a nurse, it’s my sworn duty to be an advocate for patients, and to be their voice. I will continue to advocate for a comprehensive medical cannabis program for South Carolina, my loved ones, and the thousands of South Carolinians who could benefit from safe, legal access to this effective medicine.

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The Alliance

Since the passage of a bill in 2014 that allowed for possession of CBD oil (cannabidiol oil) for patients with severe forms of epilepsy, advocates for medical cannabis have been fighting for a comprehensive program that would include more conditions and in-state cultivation and distribution.  Currently, 28 states, plus the District of Columbia, have passed laws allowing cannabis as treatment for varying qualifying conditions and 4 states have ballot initiatives that will be voted on this November.

Meanwhile, in South Carolina, a bill that would have created a similar program was introduced by Tom Davis, a Republican Senator from Beaufort, in 2015 but was shot down in Senate Committee in 2016.  During this time, individual patients and parents with chronically ill children met with legislators. However that did not have the impact needed to get such a controversial piece of legislation passed.  Small advocacy groups were also formed, but again, they had little influence.

From these struggles, the South Carolina Compassionate Care Alliance was born.  Three parent/patient advocates stepped forward to form a state-wide advocacy organization that will combine grassroots efforts with industry leaders, policy makers, attorneys, medical professionals and other advisers who are passionate about seeing legal access to medical cannabis for South Carolina patients become a reality.


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