At just 10 months old, Kalel Santiago began a 2 year long battle with a rare childhood cancer involving surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation. That was just the beginning of his struggles. His father, Abiel Gomez Santiago, explained, “While he was in the hospital, we noticed he didn’t speak at all and had some behavior that wasn’t right, like hand flapping and walking on his toes, but we waited until he was 3 and cancer-free to look at his behavior.” At just 3 years old, Kalel was diagnosed with severe, non-verbal autism.
Abiel and his wife Gladys began learning everything they could about autism. As they tried different treatments and different schools they struggled to find any treatment that helped young Kalel. The only program that they found that seemed to have any effect was a surf-based therapy near their home in Puerto Rico. It was at a fund raising event for that surf-based therapy that the Saniagos discovered a new therapy for their son: hemp oil. Specifically CBD-rich hemp oil.
They were given a sample bottle of the CBD oil and began using it immediately. The results were incredible: after only two days – Kalel started talking. Abiel says, “He surprised us in school by saying the vowels, A-E-I-O-U. It was the first time ever. You can’t imagine the emotion we had, hearing Kalel’s voice for the first time. It was amazing. The teacher recorded him and sent it to my wife and me and we said well, the only different thing we have been doing is using the CBD.” Soon thereafter, he adds, Kalel started using consonants to connect his sounds. “He said, ‘amo mi mama,’ ‘I love my mom.’ I don’t know how to thank [the CBD oil makers].”