Sunday, February 14, 2010

65 Red Roses

Over the past several months I have taken a personal interest in organ donation. I am not talking about pounding the pavement and meeting and greeting people who will get the wheels rolling, but more of self-interest because I think organ donation is important worldwide. I will write a post every so often that reflects this, or I will post a banner on my sidebar to remind people they can sign up if they haven't already. I actually do very little when it comes to donor awareness, but I still try to get the message out there whenever I can.
A few months ago after I started having breathing issues, I found myself exploring the internet looking for answers as to why I had trouble breathing and losing my voice when I talked. Unfortunately I didn't find out anything, but I discovered some sites that had to do with Cystic Fibrosis. I soon discovered one site called
65 Red Roses
and I watched a video about a young girl -- 25 year old Canadian Eva Markvoort -- who's been struggling with this awful disease all of her life. Despite all of her hardships, she continually maintains a beautiful, kind and spirited sense of self that is uplifting for all who meet her. She has been a powerful inspiration to me and for many others.
In 2007, the idea for a documentary about Eva's life and the journey she's been on was just in the making. Eva had been told by doctors that she probably only had a couple of years left before she would need a transplant. The clock was ticking.
On Monday, Nov. 16, 2009 65_Red Roses, a documentary aired in Canada on the CBC News Network's The Passionate Eye and since then has won several awards. I was sad to miss the premiere but unfortunately it has not yet come to the United States. From what I understand it is waiting for someone who can sponsor the program before it can be brought here for viewing.
The two filmmakers, Philip Lyall and Nimisha Mukerji, had hoped that their documentary would inspire people to sign up to be organ donors. I can only pray that it worked.

The other day I was visiting Eva's LiveJournal website and there was a video post titled "I love you all". I was on a computer that didn't have a media player hooked up on it so I couldn't watch the video. Looking at the comment section I noticed that there were over 900 comments on her post. I took a short breath and let it out with a prayer. Something was happening; her page had gone viral.
I was wondering if this was it. Was she getting another transplant? I read a few comments and as usual they offered her comfort and prayers. But they did not seem like the kind of comments you would get before going into a transplant. They seemed sad and I could only surmise that something was wrong.
A few hours later when I got home I turned on my computer and I learned that Eva's health had changed for the worst. She has been sick for some time now where she has been facing chronic rejection and has been staying at Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The province has the lowest donor rate in that country.

On February 11, Eva posted a goodbye video telling all her friends that she didn't have very long to live. Her mom and dad and sister are gathered around her thanking everyone for all their support. They are biding time. Sharing memories. Hanging out with close friends and family.
I quietly cry and once again find myself praying for a miracle. It is very hard for me to comprehend this. The situation is hard to fathom; someone must die so another can live. Everything must be perfect. As if a double lung transplant wasn't already enough.

There isn't a lot that I can do. But while I keep a journal documenting my own transplant experience, I can occasionally remind people that there is something they can do. Consider being a donor. Consider what you might have to offer. Consider the fact that you might save someone from dying and that you might bring some family the gift of life and happiness.

Eva, you are in my prayers...

(On a side note, I'd like to say that there are literally tens of thousands of people worldwide who have Cystic Fibrosis. And while this post was written with Eva in mind, and it was meant to drum home the necessity of organ donating, I in no means wish to take away from all those who live and suffer from CF on a daily basis. There are approximately 1,000 new cases of CF diagnosed each year.
Each year thousands of people are waiting for vital organs and tissues so that they might have a fighting chance at life.)


  1. My husband was on the waiting list for a liver transplant for 11 years. His MELD got to an 18 and he was called in for a liver transplant last August. In the last year or so, I've followed your blog but haven't sent any notes. With the shortage of donors, we try to promote donation as much as we can. We have a friend who is working on a project called "The Waiting List." His aim is to tell the story of people waiting in order to inspire people to become donors. His website is He is also competing for a grant thru the Pepsi Refresh project. You can see his project at

  2. This is so sad, I will go watch Eva's message. The more we click the more meaning we give to Eva's life by creating more awareness. How anyone can not choose to be a donor upon their death I don't know. Our bodies are so fragile it's the least we can do for others...such a huge blessing when we no longer need our viable vital organs and others do.

  3. Becoming an organ donor is very important. A few years ago my sister-in-law received a double transplant (kidney and liver). Although life for her has been an uphill battle and she still has many health problems, she is alive and doing better than she has in years.