MIEKO HESTER-PEREZ

SPECIAL NEEDS ADVOCATE
THE UNCONVENTIONAL FOUNDATION FOR AUTISM

In 2009, Mieko Hester-Perez decided to go public with her son’s success with medical cannabis and since that day in 2009, she has become a source of inspiration and information for families looking to explore unconventional and holistic treatment options within the autism spectrum. Mieko diligently leads the pack with tremendous knowledge regarding laws, regulations, products and a plethora of family resource options. She possesses personal knowledge and experience navigating through treatment options resulting in positive outcomes for families throughout the world. Although medical marijuana is not known to be a cure for autism, it has proven to facilitate life for her son and has ushered him into documented progressive development.

The combination of 20 years of legal experience and over 15 years of special education knowledge, make Mieko a modern day “warrior mom” within the industry. As Co-Founder of UF4A.org, she consults with families, autism organizations, universities and healthcare professionals. In 2012, Mieko was awarded the Evelyn DuPont Award for improving the lives of children with autism and she has also received special recognition from Congress for her many hours of community service and dedication. She most recently was also the recipient of the 2016 Lifetime Advocate Award at the Chalice Festival.

Her expertise in cannabis consulting with special needs families has made her an ideal board member on the NORML's Woman's Alliance, which is one of the most progressive and respected marijuana organizations internationally. In 2015, Mieko was placed on the Advisory Board for Acology Inc. and created a custom, FDA approved, child-resistant container to house “Joey's Strain”, a specific cannabis strain for persons on the autism spectrum. Mieko is also a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for Cannabis Science, Inc. representing the voice for patient-centered focus regarding clinical decisions.

In 2016, Mieko participated in and endorsed Costa Mesa's Measure W for safe, quality medical marijuana access in the city. Mieko and Joey's journey were featured in pamphlets and commercials throughout the campaign.

Mieko is currently participating in a funding campaign with a collaboration of Israeli moms, American moms and cannabis advocates to get medical cannabis treatment accessible for children and adults with Autism. The goal of the campaign is to fund essential research to make it a “Qualifying Condition” around the world. Israel is a groundbreaking state in medical cannabis research and Mieko supports the campaign and has brought attention to it with her professional and personal expertise in the subject.

In 2016, Mieko developed The Joey Network introducing the first cannabis and autism-centered app made available for patients throughout the world. This app was created as an informational tool for families and medical professionals, who have exhausted all other treatment options associated with treating autism symptoms. Updates on cannabis news and media clips are also included within the app.

Mieko has participated as a key speaker and panel expert at many engagements throughout the United States including the 2016 Palliative Care Education Endowment for Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, California, 2016 AutismOne conference, 2015 West Hollywood Cannabis Educational Forum and the 2012 Cypress Hill Smoke Out Festival.

Joey and Mieko's journey has been featured on a number of shows including FOX Morning News, The Doctors, The Dr. Juan Rivera Show, NBC, CBS, Good Morning America, ABC's 20/20, Motherboard, Vice Media and The National Marijuana News. Their story aired internationally on The Columbian Latin American News Network, Univision, Telemundo, Cannabis Capitol TV, ABC Fusion Channel and Australia's number one morning show in the United Kingdom.

Medical Cannabis Journal, High Times, Kush, Spectrum Magazine and other cannabis-based publications have featured Mieko as a pioneer to this ground breaking treatment. In April of 2015, Mieko was named among some of the most influential woman in the cannabis movement by Skunk Magazine. Mieko was also recently featured in OC Weekly, ENDOCA, Generosity, Huffington Post, Leafly and Cannabis Capitol.

Deep within her soul Mieko feels blessed to have Joey as her son and she strives every single day to share their journey. Today Joey is flourishing with new communicative expressions and he's happier, healthier, better behaved and is more productive than ever before.

Mieko pledges to “leave no family behind” and every single day her mission is to help families improve the quality of life for their loved ones through unconventional treatments.

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