The room at New Covenant Fellowship Church, in Mechanicsburg, was packed with people signing birthday cards for Anna Knecht, but the cards were not for Anna: They were for Pennsylvania legislators.
March 19th is Anna's 11th birthday and her wish is to be able to have access to medical marijuana in Pennsylvania, a treatment her parents say could potentially save Anna's life.
Anna suffers from a condition called Dravet Syndrome that causes her to have multiple grand mal seizures every day. Medical marijuana, given in an oil form low in THC, is already helping kids with seizures in Colorado where the drug is legal. Anna's parents want to have the choice in Pennsylvania, but they are running out of time.
"When you look at old videos of her walking, singing and marching and today she can not take three steps by herself, that is hard. Time is not on our side," said Mark Knecht.
Anna already has a medical card to receive medical marijuana in Colorado and is on a waiting list for Charlotte's web, the non-psychoactive medical cannabis, that is being given to seizure patients there. When the family gets the call that Anna's medicine is ready the Mechanicsburg family will be split apart.
"I will be moving with Anna to Colorado and my husband will stay here with our older daughter Kaitlyn. His job is here and someone has to have an income," said Deb Knecht.
Although the family may have to move they are not giving up on the fight to legalize medical marijuana in Pennsylvania, because without action on Senate Bill 1182 from the Pennsylvania Legislature, Anna could become a "medical hostage" in Colorado, because it would be illegal to cross state lines with the medicine.
"Even if we start in Colorado, we want to bring her back to here. So, that is why we will continue to fight for as long as it takes to get this done," said Mark Knecht.
Volunteers signed more than 250 birthday cards at the event asking legislators to legalize medical marijuana. The family plans on delivering the cards to the Capitol when lawmakers are back in session.