One Rotorua family was looking forward to relaxing this Christmas after making it to the end of a tumultuous year.

Karen and Adam Jeffries were thrust into the limelight earlier this year after advocating for the legalisation of cannabis oil in New Zealand so they could use it to to medicate their sick daughter.

"2014 has been a real rollercoaster for the family because Zoe has had so many ups and downs since starting school," Ms Jeffries said.

When Zoe was born, her brain was deprived of oxygen and she was diagnosed with a neurodevelopmental disorder.


When she was put in the Special Care Baby Unit she started seizing and doctors diagnosed her with refractory seizure disorder.

Ms Jeffries said she hoped 2015 would be a better year for the family.

"We will continue trying to raise awareness about the health benefits of medicinal cannabis because we don't know how long we have with Zoe and want to make her time here as enjoyable and happy as possible."

Ms Jeffries said Christmas was a casual affair this year.

"Adam was working on Christmas Day so we didn't have any big plans ... "

Ms Jeffries is also a part of the Mothers for Medicinal Cannabis NZ Facebook group which started a petition to legalise medicinal cannabis in September.

The group is aiming for 10,000 signatures and currently has about 2700.

"Realistically we will need a high profile person to get on board with the petition to become a spokesperson for the 'little people'."


Ms Jeffries said while it had been a difficult year, she was grateful for every moment she has had with Zoe.

"We always try to make the most of our time with her and are so happy to have yet another Christmas with our girl," she added.