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Women Who Inspire IRIE: Vera Twomey

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Heroes, Leaders, Advocates. Environmentalists, Artists, Athletes.  In celebration of Women’s History Month, Join IrieCBD and celebrate all that women can be, do and inspire. This is what Living Life Irie looks like, the woman’s way.

At IrieCBD, Irie is more than our name. It’s our way of life. Our way of doing business. We bring the peace, acceptance, connection and care of the Irie brand to everything we do. It’s what we hope our products bring to you. This month, we’re putting women and health front and center, and IrieJOURNAL puts the spotlight on inspiring women that embody IRIE’s commitment to healthier selves living in a healthier world. These are women who have gone above and beyond. Women who have paved paths we all tread, who have pulled on inner strength to enact astounding external changes. Women who remind us what we are all capable of, who have rocked industries, governments, concert halls. Pushing through distinct and difficult struggles, these are women that have opened doorways for us all into new ways of being, of living in tune with ourselves, those around us, and our planet. They deserve our admiration and our appreciation. They remind us to reconnect to our passion and our awareness. They exemplify the personal, social and environmental consciousness that is Living Life Irie.  

Meet Vera Twomey

                    Awe-Inspiring Parent, Compassionate Advocate, Unstoppable Marcher

[caption id="attachment_476" align="alignleft" width="354"] Photo credit: http://www.tipperarysinnfein.com[/caption]

Failing to secure treatment for her daughter Ava, Vera Twomey battled illness and crippling pain to raise awareness by marching across Ireland.

Vera Twomey is a mother.

Her daughter, Ava, has a severe form of epilepsy called Dravet’s Syndrome. Dravet’s Syndrome is resistant to treatment by traditional pharmaceuticals, and untreated, Ava has up to 20 seizures a day.  Each seizure could lead to death, or brain damage due to lack of oxygen. To Vera, every seizure her daughter has is terrifying, and heartbreaking. CBD oil, legal across Ireland as it does not contain any THC, has been the best solution for Ava, but she continues to suffer occasional seizures. Dedicated to finding something to help her child, Vera has pushed the Irish medical system to allow for treatment with medical cannabis, containing THC, which is currently illegal in Ireland.

Vera is a tireless campaigner.

After several failed attempts to secure special permission for Ava to receive a medical marijuana treatment, Vera took things into her own hands, and legs. To raise awareness, she decided to walk 260 Kilometers from Cork City in south Ireland to the national parliament in Dublin. Her journey gained national attention, and became a symbol for both love and resistance. The walk took a toll; she came down with tonsillitis, and then seriously injured her knee. She had to be pushed in a wheelchair for the final leg of the march. But she made it to Dublin, and by the time she arrived she had inspired a community of support for her cause, for Ava, and for compassionate care.

Vera started a movement.

Support for her journey came in the form of a school marching band that accompanied her in her wheelchair through their town, and came in the raucous welcomes she received reaching each new destinations on her path. Internationally, activists from Germany, Holland, Australia, Belgium and others joined her cause-applying pressure on the Irish Health Minister. By the time she reached Dublin, and vowed to camp outside the legislative buildings until the laws regarding use of medical marijuana were changed, she was a national hero. “We’re coming to Dublin, we’re gathering people and we’re not leaving Dublin until Ava gets what she needs.”

Vera is an unfailing optimist.

Says Vera of her march, and her extended protests : “I don’t want to be out here. I want to be at home with my children.” But she believes she is speaking not just on behalf of Ava, but of children across the country who could potentially benefit from access to medicinal marijuana. The hashtag campaign #MakeItMedicine has gone viral.  “The people of this country want this legislation now. They know there is a little girl whose life can be changed.”

In a world of red tape, restricted access, and failed treatments, Vera found determination instead of despair. She refuses to give up, and has rallied a global community of support.

Now THAT’s Irie.

"When I walked out the lane this morning shaking with the fear, worried to know was I doing the right thing for our Ava, I could not in my wildest imagination have thought we would get the support we got."
Photo: Gareth Channey Collins   To read more about Vera, Ava, and the ongoing campaign for legal access to medical marijuana in Ireland, check out  the video and the articles below: http://www.thejournal.ie/vera-twomey-walk-to-dublin-2-3273370-Mar2017/?utm_source=facebook_short   http://www.thejournal.ie/vera-twomey-walk-to-dublin-3270937-Mar2017/ http://www.thejournal.ie/vera-twomey-kilkenny-ava-3268811-Mar2017/ http://www.thejournal.ie/vera-twomey-protest-3297258-Mar2017/

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