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By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Eva Markvoort, subject of 65_Redroses, was 25

redroses
[Yung Chang, Nimisha Mukerji, Philip Lyall, Eva Markvoort, HotDocs 2009]
65_RedRoses’ Eva Markvoort has died. “A New Westminster woman who became a celebrated cystic fibrosis campaigner died in her Vancouver General Hospital bed of the disease on Saturday (March 27) morning. She was 25. Markvoort was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis as a baby. The former Miss New Westminster and University of Victoria theatre student received a double lung transplant in 2007, but her body wouldn’t accept the donated organs. She was awaiting a second donation when she died. Markvoort brought worldwide attention to the disease while encouraging people to become organ donors through her online journal, 65 Red Roses—a name chosen for how she would mispronounce “cystic fibrosis” as a toddler—as well as an award-winning documentary of the same name made by Vancouver filmmakers Nimisha Mukerji and Philip Lyall. Two days before she died, she wrote in her blog that she was “supersaturated” with drugs and that her doctors were going to try taking her off some of them to see how she would manage. Her final words in a blog post were: “and i am not managing, not managing at all. i’m drowning in the medications. i can’t breathe. every hour, once an hour, i can’t breathe. something has to change.”

Markvoort’s last video. Her LiveJournal. Below: the trailer for the fiercely moving, intimate documentary.

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“With every table in the dining room occupied and me, the only waiter, neglecting the needs of a good fifty patrons, I approached Roth. Holding out Balls as a numbness set into the muscles of my face, I spoke. “Sir, I’ve heard you say that you don’t read fiction anymore, but I’ve just had my first novel published and I’d like to give you a copy.”

“His eyes lifting from his iPhone, he took the book from my hands. He congratulated me. Then, staring at the cover, he said, “Great title. I’m surprised I didn’t think of it myself.”

“These words worked on me like a hit of morphine. Like two hits. It felt as if I was no longer the occupant of my own body. The legs had gone weak, the ears warmed, the eyes watered, the heart rate increased rapidly. Barely able to keep myself upright, I told him, “Thank you.”

“Then Roth, who, the world would learn sixteen days later, was retiring from writing, said, in an even tone, with seeming sincerity, “Yeah, this is great. But I would quit while you’re ahead. Really, it’s an awful field. Just torture. Awful. You write and write, and you have to throw almost all of it away because it’s not any good. I would say just stop now. You don’t want to do this to yourself. That’s my advice to you.”

“I managed, “It’s too late, sir. There’s no turning back. I’m in.”

“Nodding slowly, he said to me, “Well then, good luck.”

“After which I went back to work.”
~ Julian Tepper

“Any form of physical or sexual assault is a very serious matter, potentially a legal matter. But I’m also wondering, what about having some kind of “extreme asshole” clause? I know lots of people who have been abused verbally and psychologically. That’s traumatizing, too. What do we do with that?  It takes a lot of energy to be an asshole. The people I admire most just aren’t interested in things that take away from their ability to make stuff. The people I really respect, and that I’ve met who fit this definition, have a sense of grace about them, because they know that there is no evolving and there is no wisdom without humility. You can’t get better if you behave in a way that shuts people off. You can’t! You don’t have all the ideas necessary to solve something. You don’t! I’m sure if you spoke to Harvey in his heyday and said to him what I just said to you, he would believe that he accomplished all that he had because of the way he behaved.”
~ Steven Soderbergh