When 12-year-old Domini’Q Brice dances, every move is for his twin brother, D’Marcus.
D’Marcus Brice was born with hydrocephalus, a condition that results in a build-up of fluid in the brain, causing permanent brain damage. Among a long list of ailments, the seventh grader’s underlying diagnoses are epilepsy and cerebral palsy – rendering him unable to eat, speak or walk on his own.
Tesa Brice, single mother to the twin boys, foresees a struggle to cover the cost of D’Marcus’ newfound cannabidiol treatment, Charlotte’s Web. So Domini’Q decided to help his mother out the only way he knew how – by popping and locking.
“He believes he is changing the world by helping his brother,” Tesa, 35, tells PEOPLE. “He’s raised around $500 to help with our new medicine, which doesn t sound like a lot, but to us, it’s the world.”
Tesa says Domini’Q came up with the idea to raise money for his brother all on his own.
“When he found out we were having a hard time monetarily, he was like ‘I want to do something!’ ” Brice, who is D’Marcus’ full-time caretaker, says. “He asked if he could go to the mall and dance for people to try and raise money. I cry every time I see what he’s doing.”
D’Marcus, who experiences a minimum of 10 seizures a day – ranging from grand mal to smaller convulsions – began having longer and more frequent episodes as he got older.
“Doctors were telling us there was nothing left to give my son a more peaceful life,” says Tesa. “We started doing research and found out about Charlotte’s Web, which is a cannabis oil. We thought it might improve his happiness.”
“His cognitive levels have improved drastically,” says Tesa. “I dropped my phone the other day and his eyes followed the phone as I picked it up! It was such a huge improvement, it brought tears to my eyes.”
Charlotte’s Web, made of oil derived from marijuana plants, is high in cannabidiol (CBD) and low in high-inducing THC that is found in recreational pot. Experts say this can help diminish seizures by halting cell over-excitement.
Jesse Stanley, director of new product development at CW Botanicals, says stories like D’Marcus’ are why he and his four brothers founded the company in the first place.
“It’s humbling and an honor to be a part of their story,” Stanley, 34, tells PEOPLE. “We’re here to help people, it’s why we got into this industry. Charlotte’s Web so often helps reduce seizures and we see kids walk and talk for the first time. We’re looking into providing the family with a year’s supply.”
With the new treatment working so well, Domini’Q has become even more determined to raise money, and he hopes to get enough funds for “a lifetime supply” of Charlotte’s Web for his brother.
Recent clinical trial findings unveiled at the American Epilepsy Society’s 69th meeting in early December suggest that products with CBD just might improve the lives of those with epilepsy.
In the FDA-authorized expanded access program, GW Pharmaceuticals’ Epidiolex, a pharmaceutical liquid formulation of pure cannabidiol, showed promising early results – one study with Epidiolex even saw convulsive seizures reduced by 49 percent (although there were risks like diarrhea and changes in patients’ liver enzymes).
“We are doing rigorous scientific testing for Epidiolex, which is made from marijuana plant and is 99 percent cannabidiol derived,” lead investigator for the trials and NYU’s epilepsy center director Dr. Orrin Devinksy tells PEOPLE. “We will have a good idea if it will get approved for several epilepsy syndromes by the end of 2016 when our trials are complete. The product will then be available at pharmacies.”[facebook url="https://www.facebook.com/PhreeStyl/videos/625279910944244/" /]
Denver resident Sherry Henderson, 38, says she was inspired to give money to Domini’Q after hearing his story and seeing his “passionate dancing.”
“Domini’Q feels like he is his brother’s keeper and it’s his responsibility – no matter how big or small – to do what he can to look after him,” Henderson, a host-home provider in Denver, Colorado, tells PEOPLE. “He could be playing video games or running the streets, but he’s not. And he’s not keeping any money, he’s doing it all for his brother.”
“I just love my brother so much, and I want him to get better,” Domini’Q tells PEOPLE. “I’m dancing out there to raise money for his medicine.”
The 12-year-old adds, “When my brother hears me dance, it makes him smile. He loves a good beat. I’m so happy I’m able to help my family out and do my part.”