Another Buffalo-area Child Dies Waiting for Emergency Access to Medical Marijuana

Press Release December 11, 2014
Media Contact

<p>Contact: Tony Papa (646) 420-7290 or gabriel sayegh (646) 335-2264</p>

NEW YORK: Yesterday, 8 year old Donella Nocera of Niagra Falls passed away while waiting for emergency access to medical marijuana to ease her end-of-life suffering.

Donella was fighting stage 4 brain cancer. Her father, Nate, joined Compassionate Care NY from Donella’s bedside, fighting for emergency access for his daughter and pleading with Governor Cuomo to take action. This October, the Times-Union published Nate’s powerful op-ed about his fight to ease his daughter’s pain.

Statement by Nate Nocera, father of Donella: “More than five months after Governor Cuomo signed a bill into law that was meant to bring vital treatment to our family, my daughter Donella is dead. Governor Cuomo, I know you cannot turn back time to get us the medical marijuana that could have slowed the aggressive growth of the tumor in her brain. I know you cannot give us back the days, turned into weeks, turned into months that we lost Donella to a narcotic-induced sleep. But you have the power to end the needless suffering of so many New York families, and I urge you to use it. In the name of my little girl and at least two other children who have died waiting for medical marijuana, I urge you to take action. When you gather with your loved ones this holiday season, I ask that you keep my family in your heart as we suffer the loss of our dearest Donnie."

Statement by Compassionate Care New York:  “Today the Compassionate Care New York family sends our deepest condolences to the Nocera family for the loss of their little girl, Donella. We are privileged to have experienced Donella’s fiercely beautiful spirit. We will honor and keep Donella alive in our hearts as we continue to fight for those in dire need of emergency access to medical marijuana. After Governor Cuomo signed the medical marijuana bill into law, he directed the Department of Health to expedite solutions for emergency access. But families are still waiting for relief, and the number of children suffering and dying continues to grow. Governor Cuomo has the power to end the needless suffering of New York patients and families. It is our sincerest hope that Donella’s passing will spur Governor Cuomo to take immediate, unequivocal action to provide emergency access to medical marijuana for those patients who cannot wait for the full system to come online next year. Because no family should suffer through needlessly losing their children, and no parent should have to watch their children suffer when relief is so close at hand.”

Compassionate Care NY is a statewide group of patients, providers and organizations working together to relieve the suffering of thousands of seriously ill New Yorkers by establishing a carefully regulated medical marijuana program in New York. The Compassionate Care NY Campaign is a project of the Drug Policy Alliance.

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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