State urged by Cork mother to let medicinal cannabis deliveries continue

State urged by Cork mother to let medicinal cannabis deliveries continue

Ava Barry from Aghabullogue with her mum Vera Twomey. Picture: David Keane

A Cork mother is calling on the Department of Health to allow medical marijuana to be delivered to her severely epileptic daughter post-Covid-19.

Vera Twomey said that the drug has saved her daughter Ava’s life, leaving her 95% seizure-free, happy, able to attend school and independent of heavy medications.

She had been travelling every 12 weeks to collect medical cannabis, with permission from the State, prior to April 6 when the Department of Health arranged for the medicine to be delivered to their home instead, following Covid-19 travel restrictions.

Ms Twomey now fears that that initiative will stop when travel restrictions ease. She is urging Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Health Minister Stephen Donnelly to urgently intervene.

“We would respectfully ask for Micheál Martin’s help with this because of his pro-active approach in assisting us in the past,” Ms Twomey said. “He has been very supportive of Ava and was instrumental in helping us come home from Holland where we had moved so Ava could get her medication.” 

Ms Twomey said that her family has been isolating as much as possible to protect Ava over the pandemic and she fears that if they are forced to travel to get her medication again, they could bring home the disease which she fears could kill her daughter.

A statement from the Department of Health confirmed that it had "so far organised a number of collections from the Netherlands, for patients of clinicians in possession of a ministerial licence owing to the COVID-19 travel restrictions and quarantine requirements".

“This initiative will continue while these restrictions are in place,” the statement said.

Ava was diagnosed as a baby with Dravet syndrome, a severe type of epilepsy characterised by prolonged seizures. It is a rare condition that affects one in 20,000 to 40,000 people worldwide.

“We were told that she would only live until she was three when she was first diagnosed,” Ms Twomey said. “She used to have 100 seizures a day and spent months of each year in hospital. But now we’re at the four year anniversary of Ava not being admitted to hospital in an emergency.

"She turns 11 in two weeks, she’s extraordinarily well, she’s happy, her teachers adore her, she doesn’t have the pain she used to. Medical marijuana has saved Ava’s life.

“It’s the most gentle and most effective drug we’ve ever found for her. Pharmaceutical products used to seriously sedate her and make her drool.

“We’ve had three [medical cannabis] deliveries so far and it’s been really fantastic. Credit to Simon Coveney and Micheál Martin for making it possible.

“But I’ve been told by a TD that when the Covid restrictions relax, we’ll have to travel again. I really want to ask Stephen Donnelly and Micheál Martin to make the deliveries permanent."

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

logo podcast

War of Independence Podcast

A special four-part series hosted by Mick Clifford

Available on
www.irishexaminer.com/podcasts

IE logo

Commemorating 100 years since the War of Independence

IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox

LOTTO RESULTS

Saturday, January 22, 2022

  • 5
  • 11
  • 19
  • 32
  • 35
  • 38
  • 12

Full Lotto draw results »