Saturday 19 October 2019

'We're so grateful' - Vera Twomey reveals daughter Ava's medical cannabis to be paid for by the State

Ava and Vera Twomey
Ava and Vera Twomey
Kathy Armstrong

Kathy Armstrong

Delighted Vera Twomey has announced that medicinal cannabis used to treat her daughter Ava Barry's epilepsy will be reimbursed by the State, saying: "we're so grateful, now we can move forward".

Ava (8) suffers from a severe form of epilepsy called Dravet's Syndrome, which at one point caused her to suffer 16 seizures in just 36 hours.

Vera and her daughter travelled to the Netherlands last summer so Ava could receive cannabidiol (CBD) oil and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) oil to help alleviate the symptoms.

At Christmas Ava was granted a special licence which allows her to receive cannabis treatments at home in Aghabullogue, Co Cork.

The treatment costs up to €12,000 a year, which so far Vera and her husband Paul have been paying for out of their own money, alongside donations raised through a GoFundMe page.

Vera said she is over the moon that the medicine will now be available under the long-term illness scheme.

Vera Twomey has been campaigning for her daughter.
Vera Twomey has been campaigning for her daughter.

She said in an emotional message on her Facebook page on Friday night: "I've got some good news, the Department of Health and the HSE phoned us this afternoon to tell us that Ava's medical CBD and THC is going to be covered.

"We're still going to have to go to Holland to bring the medication back but it's going to be reimbursed, that's sorted, it's all down in writing and we have it.

"I thought nothing could top getting the licence in December but the worry of this has been immense but now it's sorted and we have absolutely everything that we need for Ava, we're so thrilled.

"It's not down to us, it's down to everybody who supported Ava from the very beginning until the last few days.

"Without ye we wouldn't have got this, I know we wouldn't have and we're so happy."

Read More: Christmas wish come true: Ava Twomey to return home to Ireland to continue medicinal cannabis treatment

She thanked her many supporters, particularly People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny, saying his constituents in Clondalkin should be "so proud" of him for the "incredible support" he gave her family.

The mum-of-four said that she is looking to the future now and she hopes their success will inspire others.

"Thank you, this is from the heart and we're so grateful, now we can move forward.

"Ava's medication is being reimbursed, her medication is being respected the same as any other anti-epileptic medication is respected and covered.

"To all the people who need medical cannabis for their epilepsy or their pain or for whatever medical reason, you can do it too, it can be done.

"Stay with it, you'll get there in the end just the same as we did, thank you so much," Ms Twomey said.

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