‘We are delighted. We are going to have a normal boring Christmas’
Ava Barry (8) arrives home from Netherlands after receiving medicinal cannabis licence
Vera Twomey with Gino Kenny making her way to Leinster House after her marathon walk in support of her daughter Ava Barry. Photograph: Cyril Byrne
An Irish girl whose family has been campaigning for her to have access to medicinal cannabis has arrived home to Co Cork from the Netherlands.
Ava Barry (8), from Aghabullogue, was reunited with her siblings after going to the Hague last summer with her family to receive medicinal cannabis to treat a catastrophic form of epilepsy called Dravets Syndrome.
After two years of campaigning her parents Vera and Paul this week were granted the medicinal cannabis licence for Ava.
Mr Barry said it was great to be “finally home”.
“We are delighted. We are going to have a normal boring Christmas. We are going to bring the kids to Santa, eat plenty of turkey and fall asleep in front of the TV,” he said.
Ms Twomey said she was relieved that the family’s fight for access to the treatment was over. “We have had no ordinary life whatsoever. As for Christmas we will just have a few people around. But it’s going to be great to be home for it. I can’t believe it has finally happened.”
‘Medicine that works’
She said that Ava has her “freedom” back now that she has a prescription for medicinal cannabis.
“It is freedom for us. We have a medicine that works. We can speak openly and honestly about Ava having the THC form of cannabis. We don’t have to hide in the shadows,” she said.
“We know that CBD oil and THC work. Ava has got better and better every day. She is seizure free. THC has saved Ava’s life and changed her life and is the most humane form of medication. Now she is just dealing with ordinary childhood illnesses like bugs rather than multiple seizures a night.”
Ms Twomey has branded the delay in obtaining a licence a “disgrace.”
“The professionals in Ireland are looking at their professional equivalents in Holland and they want the training. It is a disgrace,” she added.
She said Dutch consultants were trained as to the benefits of medicinal cannabis and this information was provided by the equivalent of their department of health.
Prior to using medicinal cannabis Ava suffered up to 23 seizures a day. Her parents feared that she could die during the seizures and said they were were living through a “total nightmare.”