I step off the treadmill, retrieve the cleaning supplies and wipe it down. I gather up my water, iPhone and bag and start walking back to my car. I’m en route to pick up my kids and as I approach our Hyundai, the sun is shining on my back, warming my soul and infusing me with lightness. I can’t help but take stock of my post-workout state of being.
I breathe with such ease that when I think of Eva, I feel like a criminal. The expansion and contraction of my lungs is fulfilling and complete. I feel just that much more alive than I did before I ran 5 km. I turn to face the sun in worship and I offer up simple gratitude for this organ that is so vibrantly healthy.
Eva Markvoort and I had some things in common. Albeit in different years, we both started the theatre program at the University of Victoria (UVic). And we both had our education and dreams interrupted by serious health issues. I left the Phoenix Theatre in 1991 to have brain surgery.
Though I initially returned to the theatre after my surgery, it no longer felt right and I started looking around for something else that did fit. Eva was often not cast in parts she auditioned for, not because she didn’t have talent, but because her precarious health could threaten a performance. I gave up and took a different course. Eva persevered.
Eva had cystic fibrosis. When she was forced to leave the theatre program because of declining health, she was two courses short of her degree. While she received a double lung transplant in 2007, her body was in a state of constant rejection. Her sister, also a UVic student, went to bat for her and, on February 24, the University of Victoria granted Eva a Fine Arts degree in a record 28 hours.
Earlier this year, she was presented with the prestigious Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Summerhayes Award for her advocacy around CF and organ donation. And she was the heroine of the internationally renowned medical documentary 65_RedRoses, which in early April was up for the Banff World Television Award.
Eva’s Celebration of Love — Live Steam, Friday April 30 at 4 pm PST
On Friday, April 30, 2010 at 4pm Pacific Standard Time, Eva’s Celebration of Love will be streamed from the 1,260-seat Massey Theatre in New Westminster, BC. Please visit Eva’s blog for the live stream and to learn more about this remarkable young woman.
“Eva Markvoort, Celebration of Love Program” courtesy of 65redroses.livejournal.com
Eva in public service ad for cystic fibrosis and organ donation, from 65_RedRoses.