BY MARTINA MECKOVA, SPECIAL TO The Vancouver Sun
This week marks one year since Eva Markvoort lost her battle with cystic fibrosis, but her legacy continues to grow and inspire many beyond the cystic fibrosis community. In her short life, Eva worked valiantly to educate people about cystic fibrosis, a disease she was diagnosed with at the age of one. She fought with veracity and strength for 25 years, as long as her body would allow. She also worked to promote organ donation, a subject she knew all too well, having survived for a short while after a double-lung transplant.
Eva lived passionately and with purpose, leaving a legacy of love and making a difference in the lives of thousands of people in her personal life and in her online community. Eva touched people all over the world through her blog 65_RedRoses and was also the subject of an award winning documentary of the same name. Her magnetic personality, creativity, and honesty drew people in at every turn.
Eva's online community, dedicated friends and family, along with Cystic Fibrosis Canada and open-hearted strangers have come together to continue her lasting and powerful legacy. Over the past year, those touched by Eva's incredible spirit have raised over $200,000 through various fundraising efforts and projects.
One such project is a magnificent work of art called 65 Red Roses that was comprised of individual red roses created by 65 Canadian artists as a tribute to Eva. The piece was donated by the Federation of Canadian Artists to Cystic Fibrosis Canada to use as a fundraising tool in the organization's mission to find a cure for cystic fibrosis. In less than one year, the painting has generated more than $65,000 and raised a new level of awareness for Eva's message. The original painting will soon find a home in the main foyer of BC Children’s Hospital. To find out more about the painting, please visit CFVancouver.ca.
Artists, friends, family and supporters gathered last May to celebrate the unveiling of this stunning work of art. Since then there have been many events and gatherings of friends, including a lawn bowling tournament, a fashion show and media campaign, the Key to a Cure campaign, a bike ride across Canada, and the ongoing success of the 65_RedRoses documentary. Most recently, Cystic Fibrosis Canada hosted a benefit concert starring local music and film talent as a tribute to Eva. A sold out theatre of over 1,200 fans and friends enjoyed an inspiring show. Each of these events has been dedicated to accomplishing what Eva championed the most: bringing people together to enjoy life, helping find a cure for cystic fibrosis, and creating awareness for organ donation.
In addition, last May Cystic Fibrosis Canada launched Reddy for a Cure, an ongoing fundraising and awareness campaign designed to further Eva's legacy. Supporters dyed their hair bright red, walked hand in hand at the Great Strides Walk, and raised over $40,000 in just two weeks. The Reddy for a Cure Team will be walking together again on May 29th, 2011 at Queen's Park in New Westminster. To find out how you can participate please visit cfvancouver.ca.
“The wonderful celebrations and events that have been held over the last year, each with a purpose, have fulfilled Eva’s dreams of leaving a worthwhile and long lasting legacy for CF, for Organ Donation and for life itself. It is a beautiful world, and Eva knew it!”, said Janet Brine, Eva’s mother.
In February 2010, after receiving the Cystic Fibrosis Canada National Summerhayes Award for her efforts and advocacy, Eva said “One of the most important things for me to do is to create a legacy. This really makes a difference because it means that I made a difference. When I die, this is what’s left.”
The positive energy, passion and unwavering commitment continues to inspire these events and is evidence that Eva did make a difference. Her message is stronger than ever. Eva's legacy will continue to inspire people to fight cystic fibrosis, create awareness for organ donation and remember that the most important thing in life is to love, love, love.
To donate to the important work of cystic fibrosis researchers in honor and celebration of Eva Markvoort, please visit https://cfvancouver.ca/donation_form-Eva.php.
Martina Meckova is director of Cystic Fibrosis Canada Vancouver/Lower Mainland Chapter
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