Editor’s note: A new nonprofit organization, the Undergreen Railroad, has formed to help marijuana refugees relocate from states with unfriendly cannabis laws to more compassionate states.
By Lindsey Rinehart
Bettie Retro is a cannabis activist who came to us at the Undergreen Railroad needing to leave Virginia for her adopted home of Portland, Oregon, so that she may safely access the one medication that works the best for her — cannabis. She also has other reasons to want to return to Portland, all of them good.
Bettie’s move is upon us in just a few short days and she still desperately needs your help. The Cannabis Community has turned out in big ways for Bettie and if we can all help just a little bit more her move will be a great success. People have donated to her online fundraiser, thrown her a spaghetti dinner fundraiser in Portland, and even gotten all of her flights covered by frequent flyer miles! She just needs a little bit more to meet her goal and get a place of her own as soon as possible.
Currently Bettie is in tremendous nerve pain throughout her body that affects her day-to-day life. Diagnosed with short-rib polydactyl syndrome, Bettie was born with extra ribs and fingers. Her extra fingers were removed incorrectly when she was an infant, leaving her with painful, exposed “clump of sensitive and confused nerve endings on each hand that cause me severe arthritic pain and limited mobility,” she says. She also suffers from shooting nerve pain through her arms, shoulders, and neck from this condition, keeping her awake for long hours at night.
“Without sleep I don’t have the energy to give to my son and it impacts my job performance and attitude,” Bettie said. “I used to take anti-depressants when I lived here before for it… After having experienced the OMMP (Oregon Medical Marijuana Program) difference, I know I don’t need them… I’m not depressed, I’m in pain and there is a better way to treat it.”
Every day is a struggle for Bettie as she copes with her lack of sleep from the pain, but she also has sporadic pain shooting through her body at all points of the day to deal with. Doing simple things like working, cooking and cleaning are regularly challenging for her. Cannabis can help her treat her pain and restore her health.
Lifting her little boy is incredibly painful due to a back injury she sustained that left her with chronic pain in her back. When she has cannabis she is able to be a better mother due to a better quality of life. She is able to participate in life fully when she has her medicine.
She desperately just wants to be a regular mom in that she would like to have the required energy to clean her house, and play with her very active 3 year old son and we have an opportunity to help her meet that goal!
This situation was recently compounded by the state of Virginia cutting this working, single mother’s social benefits for basic child care and food stamps for her son. The cost of living is far too expensive for her and her son to continue living there, in addition to her medical needs.
Bettie does have two jobs lined up as soon as she gets to Portland and strong support from the community that will help her with her little one.
Bettie had previously lived in Portland with her young son and helped lead an international cannabis awareness organization into huge growth, while simultaneously dealing with a rare chromosomal disorder that leaves her with severe nerve pain.
One project even got a discriminatory billboard against OMMP (Oregon Medical Marijuana Program) patients removed in under 24 hours. Another was coordinating successful protests against WePay regarding their policies for pro-cannabis groups; WePay had denied them use of service. Ultimately WePay backed down and the organization was allowed to accept payment through WePay. She is also involved in a lot of physical grassroots organizations, throwing rallies and collecting signatures for pro-cannabis petitions.
“I am not normally one to ask for help, but I am desperate to find my way back to a community that will help me to be a better mother and a more successful person. I appreciate any help that you can give to make this a reality for my son and me. I have a history of dedicated activism in the community and can assure you your donation will be repaid in the hard work I will give back to this community when I am in a happier, healthier, and safer place.”
Undergreen needs your help raising the funds to help Bettie get from Virginia to Oregon! Even small donations really do add up and make a difference in these fund raisers.
Your donation to help this single mother regain her health and vitality can be made here: http://www.youcaring.com/other/help-us-set-bettie-up-/125359
Also, our website is a great tool if you are looking to make the transition from one state to another and we have several self-help links available for anyone to use, free of charge at www.undergreenrailroad.org.
We will have more families that need your help, if you would like to help in ways other than monetary donation, please let us know!