Anthony Sullivan has made a living selling cleaning products on television, but his latest venture has him getting dirty in a way he couldn’t have imagined only a few years ago.
The celebrity pitchman, who became famous for starring in OxiClean commercials with late friend Billy Mays, recently opened a hemp farm in the vast green fields of Plainfield, Vermont. His 116-acre field, MontKush, was born out of Sullivan’s curiosity and need to find a replacement for the powerful drugs his 8-year-old daughter, Devon, had been taking to manage symptoms of a rare genetic disorder that has affected her development.
“She’s turned out to be this great little girl. She has an amazing personality and she loves everybody,” Sullivan, 50, tells PEOPLE of his daughter. “But she has a lot of aides, and she has an army of people to help her.”
Over the years, Sullivan says, new symptoms have created more and more challenges to maintaining Devon’s health.
“The minute we solved one problem, another problem would present itself,” he explains. “Devon had a terrible time sleeping, very difficult time eating. Her balance [and eyesight were] off… and about two years ago, she started to have seizures, seizure-like episodes.”
The family’s neurologist prescribed Devon an anti-seizure medication to help mitigate the episodes, but Sullivan says he soon decided its side effects were too much for his girl.
“It just wrecked her body, and she lost 20 percent of her body weight. She was absolutely exhausted, and she just lost her personality,” he recalls. “I get really upset when I think about it.”
Sullivan says anti-seizure medication affected Devon so much that he was ready to stop giving it to her and quit work to be with his daughter full-time in case she had an episode.
“Unless you live in that world, it’s very difficult to relate,” he says. “And I really can empathize with any parent that has a kid with