The legacy of Charlotte Figi, the young Colorado girl whose struggle with epilepsy made CBD known worldwide, will be remembered next week with a benefit concert taking place in her honor.
The April 7 livestreamed concert, featuring performances by acts including The Avett Brothers and Jason Mraz and appearances by Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, has been dubbed Rock the RoC. The name of the event is a reference to the Realm of Caring (RoC), a nonprofit dedicated to supporting research into cannabinoids and helping patients who need them gain access to lifesaving medications.
Charlotte gained global notoriety after being featured on “Weed,” a 2013 CNN documentary by Gupta, the network’s chief medical correspondent. She had a rare form of epilepsy known as Dravet syndrome that caused dozens or even hundreds of seizures per day. After traditional treatments for the disease were unsuccessful, Charlotte’s mother Paige Figi decided to try medicinal cannabis with tremendous results, which were documented by Gupta. Sadly, Charlotte died last year at the age of 13.
“On April 7, 2020, Charlotte Figi passed away, leaving the world with her life-changing story of overcoming adversity through courage and grace, and impacting the lives of millions along the way whose wellness and dignity were in part made possible by Charlotte and the Figi family’s efforts,” Polis said in a statement to High Times. “This year on April 7, we celebrate Charlotte Figi day to honor her legacy and the battle that so many continue to fight.”
A Benefit For Realm Of Caring
Heather Jackson, the president of Realm of Caring and the host for the event, said that Charlotte’s experience is largely responsible for the popularity of CBD, a cannabinoid that is now the active ingredient of an FDA-approved medication, Epidiolex.
“She was the catalyst. She was the sort of patient zero, if you will,” Jackson said in a virtual interview. “So we need to continue to serve the community that was started by her bravery.”
The virtual tribute concert will benefit the Realm of Caring’s work in cannabinoid research, educational programs, and community advocacy, Jackson explained.
“We fund the largest research registry in the world tracking naturalistic cannabis use. We do that in conjunction with Johns Hopkins University,” she said. “We also have a free call center, so we’ve taken over 350,000 inquiries in our call center. We’ve been on the phone over two million minutes guiding families and physicians.”
The group also helps families in need of cannabinoid treatments, most of which are not covered by health insurance. Realm of Caring has donated nearly $3 million dollars in medicine and cash to help offset the cost of treatment directly to patients and their families from across the country.
Rock the RoC will feature performances by a list of artists that have won at least 14 Grammy awards between them, including The Avett Brothers, Jason Mraz, Michael Franti, Wesley Schultz of The Lumineers, Ruthie Foster, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Graham Nash, Glen Phillips, Molly Tuttle, Sarah Jarosz, Corey Glover, and more. Bob Crawford of The Avett Brothers is a member of Realm of Caring on behalf of his daughter Hallie, who has benefited from cannabinoid therapy in her battle against brain cancer.
“We’re really proud of the lineup and their connection to plant-based medicine and wanting to make sure that Realm of Caring is able to continue to our mission,” said Jackson.
Support Rock The RoC
Jackson says that the best way the cannabis community and the public can support the benefit is to tune in online and enjoy the concert, which will be streamed by Nugs.TV on the Rock the RoC website. Free tickets are available online, where Realm of Caring will also be accepting donations to support its mission. A special Kickstarter campaign featuring exclusive merchandise by Shepard Fairey’s Studio Number One will go to production costs for the event.
Rock the RoC was originally slated to take place at the Red Rocks Amphitheater near Denver, but the Covid-19 pandemic spurred the change to a virtual event. With enough support from the community, however, Jackson would like to see the concert become an annual affair, with next year’s edition finally making it to Red Rocks.
“We are really hoping this will be our inaugural event,” she said. “We’re hoping this is our first year and that we’ll be able to continue this in person so we can hug each other and love on each other in real life next year.”