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Eva Markvoort's father to cycle in her memory

Eva Markvoort was part of her dad’s crew when he rode the GearUp4CF ride in 2008. - Contributed photo
Eva Markvoort was part of her dad’s crew when he rode the GearUp4CF ride in 2008.
— image credit: Contributed photo

Eva Markvoort would have been 30 this month.

And now her father Bill will ride 1,200 kilometres—Vancouver to Banff—in just nine days for a fundraiser in her memory.

Cycling up and down steep mountain passes takes a lot of training, especially for a 65 year old.

The New West resident is riding as part of Cystic Fibrosis Canada’s annual GearUp4CF bike ride to raise funds for CF research. He’ll be one of 22 cyclists in the June event taking on the challenge.

As many New Westminster residents know, Eva had CF and died in March 2010 when her lungs failed her.

As a youngster, her health was decent.

She went to school in New West. She took swimming, drama, and thrived thanks to new medications, treatments and physiotherapy sessions that took up to two hours each day, every day of her life. About age 19, Eva’s health became more challenging, and everyday tasks became increasingly difficult.

CF is the most common fatal genetic disease in Canada, compromising the function of many body systems. The lungs are particularly susceptible to infections that cause damage. In time, every breath becomes difficult.

At 23, Eva underwent a double-lung transplant and was finally able to live pain free and to lead an active life. She lived every moment well.

At 25, though, her body began to reject her new lungs, despite a myriad of medications and treatments. She went on the transplant list and waited an agonizing six months until she could no longer survive.

Eva documented her experiences on her blog 65redroses.livejournal.com. She started it as a means to get information from other CFers who were going through the same experiences as her. She was looking for support, too, and in time ended up supporting and inspiring others. The blog had a following of thousands around the globe—and became a hub where people shared information and hope.

Eva’s experiences were also documented in the award winning documentary 65_Redroses.

Bill Markvoort and his wife Janet Brine still receive correspondence from people whose lives have been touched by their daughter.

“We miss her every day, yet are so proud of her far-reaching legacy,” Bill says.

Recently, CF Canada created the Eva Markvoort leadership award to honour young people in their 20s and 30s who have made a significant and sustained contribution to the cause of CF.

Bill is calling his ride 65for65Roses because he turns 65 this year, and “65roses” is how youngsters often pronounce Cystic Fibrosis.

The goal is to raise $65,000 in Eva’s name.

“Before she died, she tasked family and friends to carry on her work and to champion Cystic Fibrosis and organ donation to ensure her life continues to have had a purpose,” Bill says. “I’m riding to honour that legacy and in memory of my beautiful daughter.”

To donate, visit http://65for65roses.blogspot.ca.

newsroom@newwestnewsleader.com

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