'kindred spirits' | 

Irish-American girl (4) who survived cancer is star at US State of the Union Address

Barron had written to Biden, whose son Beau died from cancer in 2015, about Ava's cancer battle just after Christmas 2021

Maurice Barron and his wife Kandice with four-year-old daughter, Ava

Neil FetherstonhaughSunday World

A Waterford man whose medical miracle daughter survived a battle with cancer and his wife received a standing ovation at last night’s State of the Union Address by US President Joe Biden.

Maurice Barron, who is originally from Kilmacthomas, and his wife Kandice, who is originally from Panama, were praised by President Biden for their fortitude as their first child, four-year-old daughter, Ava recently recovered from cancer.

Barron had written to Biden, whose son Beau died from cancer in 2015, about Ava's cancer battle just after Christmas 2021.

"Please know that your strength gave me strength and the embrace of your emotions allowed me not to feel as if I was somehow less when mine overtook me,” he told the President.

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Soon after, Barron and his family received an invite to the White House as Biden reignited the Cancer Moonshot initiative, which sets out to "end cancer as we know it”.

In his address, President Biden said: “They met and fell in love in New York City and got married in the same chapel as Jill and I. Kindred spirits. They wrote us a letter, about their little daughter, Ava.

“I saw her just before I came over. She was just one year old, when she was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease. After 26 blood transfusions, 11 rounds of radiation, eight rounds of chemotherapy and having had one kidney removed – she had a five pc survival rate.

“Maurice wrote about how in the darkest moments he felt if she goes, I can’t stay.

“Many of you have been through that as well. Jill and I understand that too. He read Jill’s book describing our cancer journey, and how we tried to steal moments of joy where we could – but for them, that glimmer of joy was the half-smile of their baby girl.

"In everything, they never gave up hope. Little Ava never gave up hope. She turns four next month.”

Those gathered then stood up in rapturous applause, as the US President declared: “She’s beating the odds, and on her way to being cured of cancer”.

As an emotional Maurice and Kandice waved in appreciation, President Biden noted how Ava was watching on from the White House, as she was not yet gone to sleep.

The State of the Union Address is an annual message delivered to a joint session of the United States Congress, near the beginning of each calendar year on the current condition of the nation.

According to the Waterford News and Star, Maurice is the son of Labour Party Councillor, Ger Barron, and his late wife, Kay. Maurice met his wife Kandice, originally from Panama, having emigrated to the US, where they later welcomed Ava.

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