Health Minister Simon Harris intervenes to help epilepsy-sufferer Ava

The mother of a girl with a rare form of epilepsy says she has been encouraged by the efforts Health Minister Simon Harris has made to secure treatment for the condition in Ireland.

Vera Twomey from Cork has previously expressed her fear she would be forced to split her family in two to bring Ava to the US to seek treatment for her condition, which is known as Dravet Syndrome.

Ava requires round-the-clock care and monitoring due to the frequent severe seizures she suffers. While there is no cure for Dravet syndrome, Ms Twomey says her daughter’s seizures could be alleviated with medication called Epidiolex, which contains cannabidiol — derived from cannabis.

While the medication is not approved for sale or use in Ireland, it is available in Colorado and has undergone trials in the UK. Ms Twomey said Mr Harris contacted her in recent weeks after media coverage of Ava’s case.

Ms Twomey later outlined her case to Mr Harris in person, in a meeting also attended by agriculture minister and Cork North West TD Michael Creed and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and is hopeful the meeting will help pave the way for the medication being made available here.

A fundraiser for Ava will take place at the Hydro Farm in Tower, Blarney, Co Cork, next Sunday.


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