Over the last year, Vera Twomey has become the public face of the ‘Make it Medicine’ campaign to legalise medical cannabis in Ireland. And yet, Vera has just revealed that she and her family are being forced to leave the country.
Mother campaigns to get potentially life saving medicine for daughter
Vera’s daughter Ava has Dravet Syndrome, a rare disorder causing grand mal seizures that could prove fatal at any time. Ava’s condition does not respond to conventional medication and her doctors had ran out of options, effectively sending her home to die.
That’s why Vera and her husband Paul decided to try CBD oil. They had seen success stories such as Charlotte Figi, whose seizures had been almost eliminated after taking the non-psychoactive cannabinoid, CBD.
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Ava responds well to CBD oil – but family think that THC could reduce seizures further
While Ava’s condition has improved remarkably and her seizures reduced by 90%, the child’s parents believe that a medical cannabis extract containing both CBD and a small amount of THC could bring her seizures down to almost zero.
The family have been tirelessly campaigning to try and convince the Irish Ministry of Health to approve medical cannabis containing THC for Ava. But despite the Irish Parliament passing a Medical Cannabis Bill before christmas, and the launch of a Compassionate Access Programme, Harris and his team have dug their heels in, refusing to approve a prescription for Ava containing THC.
Family see no option but to leave Ireland
And so, just this week, Vera Twomey announced that the whole family will be moving to Spain, where they hope to access the medical cannabis they believe Ava needs.
In an interview with Endoca, Vera said:
“Over the last couple of weeks, what with the way the Bill has been progressing. The progress is so limited. It’s being blocked at every avenue they can.
“We’re looking at Ava the whole time, it’s just simply we had to move or do something. So we decided the best thing to do was to pack up and go.
“The idea with Spain is that it’s as far as I’d be able to go with Ava. I don’t think it would be realistic to imagine that we could go to Colorado.”
Irish government say Vera must prove that THC medication works
The move, which includes all four of Vera’s children, is in response to the Irish Government’s latest position.
“The Government and the HSE (Health Service Executive) have demanded that we provide ‘clinical evidence’ that it’s working for Ava, and based on the clinical evidence that the THC was working, then we would be able to apply for a license and bring the medication back into the country.”
The family hope to work with doctors in Spain who are used to prescribing medical cannabis to minors with Ava’s condition.
It should be pointed out that medical cannabis is not legal in Spain, but there are medical cannabis clinics working with experienced doctors, many of whom are members of the respected Spanish Medical Cannabis Observatory.
Only time will tell whether Vera and her family get the result they so dream of for Ava; that THC further reduces her seizures, and that the Irish Government allows them to lawfully bring the medication back into Ireland so they can return home.
For more information about Vera’s campaign for Ava, visit her Change.org page.
Since time of writing Vera and Ava’s situation has changed. Instead of moving to Barcelona, they are now in the Netherlands.