Posted by: Frank Angelo Cavaluzzi | September 4, 2014

65_RedRoses: Discovering Warrior Sage Eva Markvoort

We’ve all been there. It’s the end of a long day, everyone’s asleep, and it’s time to thumb through new movies streaming on Netflix or available on iTunes. There’s always that one compelling movie that begs to be clicked on. Still, you pass it by, night after night. Once in a while you may click through for more information, but you never end up watching it. You’re just not feeling the title, promo photo, or subject matter itself. It’s a little too heavy or hits too close to home. Then, one night, something deep inside tells you to go for it, or rather, makes you go for it. You click on the play symbol without even realizing it and the results are life changing. For me, that night was last night and that movie was called 65_RedEM_01Roses.

65_RedRoses is a very true story. A documentary. A work of art. A teaching. It’s a very real representation of perhaps the most challenging period in the lives of three special young women, all suffering from Cystic Fibrosis (CF). This is not Reality TV, this is reality. A raw view into the out-of-control chest congestion and lengthy hospital stays that often accompany CF. In 65_RedRoses, Eva Markvoort, part warrior, part sage, exposes her great pain and vulnerability but also her great zest for life. She opens up and extends her creative mind and adventurous heart for us all to experience. We are brought deep within her inner circle to ride a roller coaster of emotions.

Eva, along with her loving and supportive family and two fellow CF fighters Meg Moore (aka megmucus) and Kina Boyce (aka Spirit_of_Kina), helps us to better understand this disease and the organ donation process associated with a skillful but risky double lung transplant. A process full of on-call waiting, waiting and more waiting. Through online journal entries and footage shot during excruciating moments, we share in their struggles, join along in their friendships and cry with relief when they shine. Shine, a good word. Even in her worst condition, Eva couldn’t help but shine on family, friends and everyone else who crossed her path.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with CF, in short simple terms, it’s a disease that causes heavy mucus to accumulate in the lungs and other organs, eventually impacting the digestive system. Among other things, this results in severe breathing issues, infections and fatigue. Treatments are improving and the miracle of organ donations and lung transplants may extend a Cystic Fibrosis patient’s life, however, as the American Lung Association puts it, “People with CF have a shorter-than-normal life expectancy.” That means, that as of today, there is no known cure for Cystic Fibrosis.

Through my Standing Cyclist projects and my own Allergic Asthma challenges, I was somewhat familiar with CF, but my understanding was very limited. I only knew that CF patients had trouble breathing. That’s all. But it’s far more than that. During one of my adventure cycling fundraising trips, I had the opportunity to meet a child with Cystic Fibrosis. I chatted, trailside, with his parents. I listened to their story, impressed by their positive attitude and strength. In that moment, I got to know them, but I never really got to know CF first hand. Not until now. Not until I clicked on that one movie I had been passing on for many months.

In June 2014, bm_em_lg_01Eva’s 65-year old father Bill Markvoort participated in a 9-day cycling event called GearUp4CF. He rode in honor of his daughter and to raise awareness and funds for the CF cause. This was Bill’s second time riding in this particular Cystic Fibrosis event. His first ride back in 2008 was a celebration of Eva’s successful double lung transplant. Eva later joined the team as chief cheerleader while still recovering from surgery. This year, Bill and 21 other team riders completed the 1,200km route from Vancouver to Banff, Canada on June 29th. This was the 9th annual GearUp4CF. This year’s event was a great success, thanks to Bill, his team members and the many generous people who donated. Over $370,000 was raised for CF research and care.

While here with us on this Earth, Eva wanted to make a difference. She wanted to raise awareness for CF and for the organ donation process. As it turned out, she accomplished this, but so much more as well. Beyond the 1 million plus dollars raised as a result of Eva’s story, she has made an even deeper impact on millions of people. Anyone who sees this movie, anyone with even the slightest hint of empathy and compassion within them, will see life differently going forward. Eva’s challenges will inspire young people to never take their ability to dance, work, study, laugh, love and breathe for granted. Parents will hug their children just a little tighter and a bit longer because of her willingness to share both her pain and her magical smile. For generations to come, Eva’s perseverance, potent triumphs and her brilliant shine will remind us all to live this magnificent life to its very fullest, each and every moment, with every single breath we take.

You can find the film on iTunes, purchase it via the official movie website, or stream it via Netflix. To learn more about Eva, 65_RedRoses The Movie, her dad’s tribute ride and CF, visit:

65_RedRoses Movie – http://65redroses.com/

More About Cystic Fibrosis – http://www.cff.org/

Eva’s 65_RedRoses Online Journal – http://65redroses.livejournal.com/

Bill Markvoort’s GearUp4CF Ride – http://65for65roses.blogspot.ca/

Article – Bill Markvoort Rides for Daughter Eva – http://www.newwestnewsleader.com/news/252329451.html

Great Strides – CFF Walking Events – http://fightcf.cff.org/site/PageServer?pagename=gs_homepage

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Responses

  1. I have a friend whose daughter passed just over a year ago from CF. I knew nothing about it before knowing this family until I saw what a complicated and tragic disease this is. Thanks for the post.

  2. I went to college with a friend who had CF. He was a fun loving person who knew his time was limited and he made every second count. After I graduated in 1981 he had a double lung transplant. It was my understanding the surgery was cutting edge back then. I talked to him from his hospital room and he said “It’s unbelievable, I can breath !”. For that short time he felt normal but unfortunately his body rejected the transplant. It is because of people like him and people like the Standing Cyclist, that so much knowledge has been gained. The importance of supporting those causes you believe in are so admirable.

    • Thanks Beth 🙂 It was an amazing movie but difficult to watch for many of the same reasons you mention above. Peace and love-FC

  3. Hi Frank, I’m glad that you decided to click “play” and were able to experience Eva’s story. My sister is missed so very deeply and I am proud to know that her legacy lives on. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, you really captured the spirit of her legacy.

    • Hello Annie. It was very special hearing from you. Thank you so much for your kind words. From me and my family, to you and yours, peace always-Frank


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