On March 27, Eva Dien Brine Markvoort, of Vancouver, Canada, died after battling cystic fibrosis. She was 25 years old.
Itself, her death isn’t that unique as approximately 484 people die each year from the disease, according to WrongDiagnosis.com.
What is unique and very special and inspiring is what she did as she prepared for death. She blogged about it.
“Markvoort started her blog in 2006 because hospitalized patients with cystic fibrosis were isolated because of infection. Alone in her hospital room at Vancouver General Hospital after visiting hours, she sought to connect with other patients by finding them online.
The blog’s name 65_RedRoses, originated from her childhood inability to pronounce cystic fibrosis; she called it “65 roses.” Markvoort added the word red because it was her favorite color.
Markvoort was the subject of a Canadian documentary also called ’65_RedRoses.’ It showed her harrowing experiences with the disease: violent coughing, vomiting, IVs, the painful procedures that made her scream.
The documentary followed her as she waited for a double lung transplant and as she formed online friendships with two American girls who have cystic fibrosis. The film ends on a happy note: Markvoort got her lung transplant and appeared to be on the road to recovery.
But less than two years later, her body began rejecting the organs. Her lung capacity dwindled, and every breath became laborious.
Sometimes, her blog posts were raw, filled with ‘episodes of projectile vomiting, hours of gasping for breath, waves of nausea lulling out into hours of sleepiness.'”
The article went on to say how when she was too weak to write, she dictated blog posts to family members.
Her story is inspiring. In fact, according to the CNN.com article, one person decided to quit smoking because of her. “I felt so selfish when I stumbled across your [LiveJournal] on here, because I’ve been smoking cigarettes for years, taking my lungs for granted. You helped me quit the worst habit I’ve ever had,” the person wrote to Eva.
It took incredible courage for Eva to maintain this blog and vast understanding for her family to understand her desire to chronicle her impending death. It couldn’t have been easy, but I find it very interesting.
Read through her blog posts. They shed a unique perspective on dealing with disease and death.
Others have also blogged about their own deaths:
- Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University, discussed his impending death with frankness in his last lecture, in which he urged students to fearlessly pursue their dreams. The video went viral on YouTube in 2007, getting more than 11 million views.
- Miles Levin, an 18-year-old who had a rare soft-tissue cancer and died in 2007, shared his last moments.
- Michelle Lynn Mayer, a 39-year-old mother who had scleroderma and died in 2008, shared her thoughts on living and dying, too.
I just hope when my time comes, if I too am faced with an incurable disease, I have enough bravery to continue to blog about it, just as I currently blog about my life.