Exposures
August 25, 2012
I Care: 'Terminal Eyes' View Patients in Need

20120726_AOC_ICareLanders_036w.jpg
Ryan Landers suffers severe pain caused by advanced stage AIDS and shingles of the brain. His prognosis is grim. "I'm looking at life through terminal eyes," he says. Landers was the public face of the campaign for Proposition 215, which legalized medical marijuana in 1996. He says with certainty that he would be dead today if it were not for smoking cannabis, which quells his nausea so that he can eat. He remains active for the cause. "I can't stop fighting until patients are safe," he says.
Landers pulls himself out of bed to attend a Crusaders For Patients Rights meeting, stopping to say goodbye to his ailing cat, Rascal, 16, who is his best friend.
He became an activist after his terminal diagnosis. "I know I had to lose everything. I accepted death and at that point I knew I was either going to go to jail and die sooner, or I'd make a hell of a lot of difference."
20120821_AOC_ICareLanders2_019w.jpg

20120821_AOC_ICareLanders2_231w.jpg 20120821_AOC_ICareLanders2_461w.jpg Sitting in the meeting Landers wears sunglasses to protect him from getting headaches and cellphone earbuds ready to take a call from any patient who might need his advice. He has a keen eye for language in laws and chimes in frequently during the meeting to offer helpful suggestions or historical background. He does this despite sharp pain in his neck and stomach.
"I think this is why I've had so many illnesses - so I can speak first hand about so many different illnesses," he says. "I'm a completely different person for having that knowledge."
20120726_AOC_ICareLanders_060w.jpg Since starting this journey of advocacy Landers has done things he never dreamed he would do. He's changed language in laws, made friends with politicians and law enforcement and turned them into supporters, adopted two sons, helped patients get their seized medical cannabis back and more. He's quoted heavily in the media any time the issue is brought up. But really it comes down to a simple purpose. "I just understand people's pain and want them to feel better," Landers says.

20120821_AOC_ICareLanders2_595w.jpg

Do you know someone who gives their life to helping others? Please email Autumn Cruz at acruz@sacbee.com with your suggestion of who to profile next.

About Comments

Reader comments on Sacbee.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com

Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at feedback@sacbee.com. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to feedback@sacbee.com. Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from sacbee.com. While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on sacbee.com and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.