by Al Graham – P.A.C.E.
In 2010 and once again in 2011 the Treating Yourself Expo presented the Marijuana Music and the Treating Yourself Medical Cup Awards to those who excelled in what they were involved in.
Whether it was singing a great ballad to growing some fantastic medication they were presented with an award for their achievement. This year though there was a new award presented at the Expo by the Michelle Rainey Foundation.
The Patient Advocate Award is to be presented to the person that they feel exemplified Michelle and what she stood for. This award could have gone to many, many people in our movement but surprisingly to me, but not to my friends, I was chosen the first person to ever receive this award.
I am honoured to receive this and it truly wasn’t something I expected. To be even in the running for this award would be an honour but to win it sure is.
At one time or another we all start out as a person that is unknown, a person that just wants to speak up, a person that wants to make a difference and I am no different. Like Michelle once did, I go about day in and day out educating everyone and anyone who will listen to me about cannabis. However it hasn’t always been like this, as just like a lot of people, I worked long hours in a factory before coming ill. While there I was involved in everything from being a pro- duction worker to a Supervisory position before getting set- tled into Quality Assurance and production testing. I wrote ISO documentation, taught the general product knowledge training course and did the general safety training for new employees where I worked. I am a person who has coached kid’s soccer, baseball and hockey. While involved with hock- ey I became the Vice –President of the organization and I coached a bunch of B team kids to an All-Ontario Hockey Championship. From there I would lead a bunch of people into the mud and over the rocks as a President of an Off- Road club. While there I was heavily involved in organizing and setting up one of the toughest off road competitions in the province.
Twelve years have passed since I set up a different off road competition at our town fair. While I am no longer involved in this, the competition is still running today and has become the second largest draw behind the demolition derby. The fair competition was run in order to help educate the public about responsible and respectable off- roading. It’s something I’m still doing but now I’m teaching the responsible and respectable use of cannabis.
roading. It’s something I’m still doing but now I’m teaching the responsible and respectable use of cannabis.
For me things got started when I was released from hospi- tal after having to deal with my first ever Crohns Disease flair up back in 2003. I did some research on the cannabis plant and found that there were benefits for me to use it as a medication. From there I just wanted to let everyone know how this plant would help me. Back then I would get t-shirts made to send out a message to people because I always felt a t-shirt is really an advertising sandwich board. This is still something I still believe in today so I keep wearing shirts that promote cannabis as a medicine.
From there I moved onto helping Marco with the public shows that Treating Yourself was participating in. This would include large events such as The International Home Show, The National Women’s Show, The Total Health Show as well as the ten day long National Home Show. While attending these shows many are looking for something else other than information on cannabis but by the time they leave they know that we were present. When you come across a cannabis booth amongst furniture or lingerie it does create some excitement. These shows haven’t stopped and now Marco has me looking after getting things ready includ- ing arranging the volunteers and making sure that they are all ready to educate the uneducated at these events.
Issue 7 of Treating Yourself is double special to me as this is the issue that Michelle and I both had our patients profiles published. It’s also special to me because this was the first time that I had written for TY. This issue was also on the newsstands when TY held its first ever public awareness seminar at the Delta Chelsea Hotel in downtown Toronto which is the event that Michelle and I met for the first time. When I first introduced myself to her, I told her that I was also in the same issue as her and for the same reason, Crohns. At that point we talked a bit about the disease and then she signed my copy of the magazine, from one fellow “crohnie” to another. Later on that day I watched Michelle speak about her condition and I thought to myself, someday I may be able to do the same thing.
Throughout the years I did meet Michelle many more times. In the early years it always made me happy to know that she always remembered me and cared enough to ask how I was doing. It also told me that the efforts that I had been involved in had been getting noticed.
With Issue 8 I continued with another home show article and added some other items such as Prohibition Sucks and a call for people to Get Involved in the cannabis movement. Since those early articles I have reported and written about the many shows that TY has done to educate the public From there things just kept going. As time went along I just wrote and in the end I’m still writing. Since the beginning twenty five issues of TY have come and gone and since that first article I have been able to contribute over fifty more with more coming. Along the way I’ve written about the adventures of M.M.A.D. Participants, M.A and now P.A.C.E.. I’ve written articles with people as I did in “Lynda Duncan: A Former Junkie that Suffers with Chronic Pain” to articles about people as I did with a feature article on Casper Leitch and his radio show Time 4 Hemp. I’ve also touched on how society treats medicinal people and the stig- ma around it.
My aim and goal has always been the grass roots people, the very same people that will have to get the governments to change their minds. Throughout this time I have meet many people and have achieved things that I would never have been possible without Treating Yourself and the cannabis community. Marco unofficially calls me his GTA events writer and that’s perfectly fine, but for me, I’m just a guy wanting to share his medicinal experience with cannabis and to prove to others that it’s not a menace to society but one with great benefits
My journey also gave me a chance in a life time as a radio announcer. For fourteen months I did live remote radio appearances every weekend on Rock 107, a Quinte area radio station talking about everything cannabis. After a short break I was back at it again at the station for another year as Treating Yourself had agreed to sponsor a radio pro- gram at the same radio station called The Trip. While doing this program, I did a weekly ninety second cannabis news- cast where I would touch on the latest cannabis news, whether it was international, national or local. This experi- ence allowed me to reach out to tens of thousands of people on a weekly basis.
Last Moment Together
When I was presented this award I thought about Michelle and the last time we spoke. It was at the first ever TY Expo. Michelle spent that weekend working hard on the Expo’s video where she was a tower of power and going all the time. At the time many of us didn’t know how sick Michelle was including me. As she left to go home after the show she passed me some of her best medication, we know it as Bull Rider. She told me that it would help me with my crohns and make my quality of life better. Even in her remaining time with us she was still thinking of others. I put it away to have after the Expo and then she gave me a hug. Not just a hug but a long gentle hug as if she knew that it could be the last one we shared. She then released her embrace on me and her hands slide down to grab my wrists. At this moment she and I just stared into each other’s eyes and tears started to appear. Nothing was said not a word, just more tears. It was like a magical moment as if she was telling me that everything would be ok. I now know she was saying good bye and not just bye because a good-bye is forever.
Now that I am with P.A.C.E., I have started the public speaking which I mentioned that I’d do some day. I speak before and after each P.A.C.E. movie. P.A.C.E. is about edu- cating the uneducated by bringing Michelle’s videos and many other educational videos to movie screens at two Cafes in our area. Our educational themes touch on the sci- ence, the history, prohibition and the patient’s experiences with using cannabis as a medication. We are medical and non-medical users of cannabis that is doing, what Michelle is still doing, educating the public.
While I may have received this award it sure wouldn’t be pos- sible without my wife Gayle beside me. She quietly allows me to go about my business to educate people without complain- ing about the time I spend doing it. She sees how important it is to me and everyone else much like Jeff Tek was for Michelle. Then there is Mike who I have written about several times as he would attend many of the shows I did with TY. There are also my three adult children and my friends Fourtwenty Deb, Hippi Chick and many others who have been with me every step of the way. There are also businesses such as BMA Hydroponics, who purchase and distribute up to two hundred copies of every issue of Treating Yourself to medical patients for free or the two cafes The Grindhouse and The Studio. Both of these cafes have stuck with P.A.C.E. even though there were many risks with getting involved with a cannabis group in these small conservative communities. To all of you thank you for your support it hasn’t gone unnoticed
After winning the award I contacted Jeff Tek to get the goals and objectives of the foundation. He says it is to “help edu- cate medical marijuana patients and growers “and that they hoped that “one day everyone in need of medical marijuana will have a carefree and easy way of obtaining and ingesting their medicine” but most of all it is “to honour the memory of the beloved medical marijuana patient and advocate, Michelle Rainey.”
He wanted me to let everyone know that “the foundation will continue to offer Michelle’s patented “Med Pack”, which contains a personalized letter from Michy herself and all the information you need to know about how to talk to your doctor and the process of getting your Medical Marihuana Access Regulations (MMAR) license from Health Canada.”
The project that she headed and was extremely proud of was her t-shirt campaign. Jeff says Michelle would wear “her shirt religiously to everywhere from the gym to a rock concert”. Jeff tells me that they are still offering Michelle’s well known MEDICINAL T-shirts complete with the trade- mark pot leaf in the A. He says that “she would be honored and at peace to know we are all still rockin’ her shirts giving each-other “big booby hugs” in her absence.”
There is good news coming in 2012 as the foundation plans on expanding the MEDICINAL logo to tank tops, hoodies, booty shorts and other items. Jeff tells me to let you know to “keep an eye on MichelleRainey.com to get your very own and support a legacy started and continued by love.” He continued with “Out of great loss we must overcome our grief, cherish the memories of those lost and take from there the courage to continue on.”
When I went looking for some information for this article I came across Jeff’s letter about Michelle. It’s on the front page of the MichelleRainey.com website and now I’d like to take this opportunity, with Jeff’s permission, to share it with you.
Michelle Rainey – Medical Cannabis Patients Advocate
A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step and each day Michelle’s feet hit the ground running with the conviction of a true leader. Leading by example is her modus operandi and she sets the bar high, intimidating some, but inspiring many. With a can-do approach and hands-on talents, she has become synonymous with Medicinal Marijuana in Canada and the world.
Wanted by the U.S. DEA on trumped-up charges of manufacturing marijuana, conspira- cy, seed sales and money laundering, Michelle has become a medicinal patient’s advocate, Director of Marketing and Sales for a leading alternative medicine journal, Treating Yourself Magazine and Financial Agent for the B.C. Marijuana Party while fighting extradition – all at the same time. Talk about juggling your life and your career and as if all this wasn’t enough for the average person to deal with; Michelle was
diagnosed with Cancer last year. The big C! Most people, including many famous people, will shrink back into their world and disappear from sight when confronted with the thing we all know killed “The Duke” John Wayne. Some will talk about it after their Cancer has gone into remission, Michelle responded by making videos, telling everyone about her situation and helping many with valuable information, even though she lost her oldest brother to Cancer just the year before, she never relented or lost hope.
Vitamins and at least 5 days of hard cardio workout at our local gym lead to alliances with the gym staff as well as the owners who actually happen to be world bodybuilding champions. Positive mental attitude absolutely spilled-over to everyone she met during her daily travels, including the pro- prietor of the vitamin store who was impressed with Michelle’s knowledge of the correct cancer-fighting prepara- tions. Her upbringing in the Health Food industry and her life long fight with Crohn’s disease has prepared her well for the fight of her life and she faced invasive surgeries to get the bad stuff out. After three tough back-to-back operations Michelle’s prognosis is now looking great. She will still be a Cancer patient for life with mandatory checkups but for the most-part, this chapter has ended on a nice note, thanks to everybody who helped, a good health care system and some very talented doctors, and a lot of praying.
After a very successful banking career lasting over a decade Michelle decided to take the bull by the horns and join the Marijuana Movement when fate caused her path to cross with Marc Emery’s. When he walked into her bank, she took it as a sign and completely exchanged her safe and comfort- able life for a hell-ride. Life in the fast lane is an understate- ment when you know the depths of conviction Michelle had to have to be the catalyst for the day to day affairs of every project and undertaking they did for almost another decade, from elections to the creation of Pot-TV. Now Michelle helps patients fill out the myriad of forms Health Canada requires for each medicinal cannabis user to complete. (When was the last time someone had to fill-out 40 pages of paperwork for a Valium?) Just the task of downloading the correct doc- uments could be a nightmare so when Michelle first filled- out her papers we simply made copies of the correct forms then she took them and made full-sets of forms for anyone who needs them. Then she took it one step further and com- plied information regarding scientific findings on medicinal cannabis to inform potential patients- doctors with. The response was amazing, first from the potential patients and then from the doctors themselves. Most admitted no knowl- edge of cannabis. She showed it to her doctor and he con- gratulated her on her presentation, he was impressed and very supportive.
The information packs cost a lot of money to produce and she has never charged a dime for any, we even pay for postage out of our own pockets. Michelle has sent packets to the college of physicians in each of the thirteen provinces of Canada and three formally acknowledged the information and thanked her. Perceptions of cannabis are being slowly changed one person, one doctor at a time. Michelle’s proba- tion officer supports her efforts and the ironic thing is that she doesn’t have any legal trouble with her home country, but she is wanted by a country that officially has over 20% of its own population behind bars. Barack Obama is the 44th president of the United States and he promised to put a halt to dispensary raids in the 14 states that support legal medic- inal marijuana and now President Obama’s half brother, George, has been arrested and charged with possession of marijuana near his home in Nairobi, Kenya. Even though Barack doesn’t know George well and even though many presidents had brothers who did embarrassing things you got to take this as a sign to take notice of the pot situation in the world; is it time for a real change? (I’m not talking Billy Beer.)
I can only hope that the propaganda will die and that ration-
will prevail in regards to cannabis. Michelle has a way with people, from the very old to the young and every- one in between,
her patients and understanding never cease to amaze me. What was the first verse to that Mary Tyler Moore song, “Who can turn the world on with her song?”
Something like that describes Michelle’s talents for turning people on to what is right and what is important but with a huge dose of compassion and
understanding. Understanding is what we all need a massive
where is the understanding bailout? Everybody complains
about their job, that their condo won’t sell or their hair isn’t what it used to be; from early-early morning to late at night
and sometimes all-night-long, Michelle’s main Crohn’s symp- tom, diarrhea, keeps her shackled to the toilet sometimes for hours at a time and in all the time I have known her she has never complained once. Instead she helps others and takes good care of me and nurtures the relationships that make us what we are today, without her I’d be nothing and without me, Michelle would be a lonely warrior. She would still kick- ass and take names but I believe in Karma and wherever you are is where you are meant to be. Me, I’ll just keep writing and filming and taking good care of the medicine that takes good care of us, and I’ll be extra sure to take good care of the one who takes care of me, so she can continue to add to the list of over a hundred medicinal patients she has already helped to get signed.
Not much more to say except I am probably biased in this assessment of my wonderful wife Michelle and her plight. When we met we both immediately knew that we were meant to be together. We were married the last day of the last Tokers- Bowl in 2005. In front of over 200 surprised, red- eyed guests, friends and about a dozen video cameras we tied the knot – A Canadian married An American – on the Fourth of July at a huge pot party! There wasn’t a dry eye in the hall when the band played an incredibly accurate rendi- tion of “One” by U2. That night we danced in peace and har- mony but the fun was over just three short weeks later, July 29th when the Vancouver PD in conjunction with the US DEA shut -er down. They raided the BCMP and put an end to Marc Emery Seeds but life goes on for the other thousand seed merchants and so does the life of medicinal cannabis. They targeted the only company that was pouring all their profits into legalization and marijuana law reform. Inform yourself then inform your doctor, lawyer, teacher or proba- tion officer, pot cures cancer, and a whole list of other things, if used responsibly by responsible adults, pot can be just as beneficial as the best vitamins and nutrients. To dispel one myth; I’ve smoked tons of good marijuana and never once got “wasted.” Michelle uses pot daily to control her symp- toms and she’s not a “dope.” We are the future and we need your help, take that first step and see where your journey takes you.
Peace and Buds, Jef Tek – Feb 2009
The Michelle Rainey Foundation is run by President Reverend Jef Tek and Vice President Kaara Heywood. The Foundation can be reached at P.O. Box 321 Maple Ridge B.C. V2X 7G2 Canada or by visiting www.MichelleRainey.com
If you are People Advocating Cannabis Education then you’re helping to keep Michelle’s goals, objectives and spirit alive.