Fundraising in Eva’s memory

In 2017, Dan and Dani lost their baby daughter, Eva, to a rare kidney condition. During their daughter’s time at GOSH, Eagle Ward became their second home, and the nurses became their close friends. Dan is taking part in this February's Walkie Talkie Tower Climb to raise money for GOSH. 

Dani and Dan’s daughter, Eva, was born in Ipswich in May 2017. 

Less than a month later, she arrived at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) with suspected kidney disease. 

It was at GOSH that Eva was diagnosed with congenital nephrotic syndrome – a rare genetic kidney condition. 

The hospital’s Eagle Ward became the family's home for the next 26 weeks, with grandparents stepping in to help look after Eva’s older brother, Brandon, who was a toddler at the time. 

Eva 

Dani and baby Eva were given their own private room on Eagle ward. “It became our world, really. Our home,” says Dani. 

Dani and Dan quickly got to know the staff and other families, forming close bonds. 

“When you live on the ward, the nurses and other families become your friends – because they’re the people you see day in day out.” 

Seeing their daughter unwell was very hard, and their journey at GOSH was sometimes painful. But throughout Eva’s time at GOSH, they hoped their daughter would get better, describing her as an “incredible fighter” overcoming “every obstacle that was put in front of her”. 

Sadly, in the December of that year her health suddenly began to deteriorate, and it became clear she wouldn’t get better. 

“When it came to the end, we knew she wouldn’t make the journey back home, so we went back to our second home: Eagle Ward,” says Dan. 

Eva passed away in Dan's arms, holding her parents’ hands. The nurses who had looked after Eva for over six months came into the room afterwards, to say goodbye to her. Eva was surrounded by her close family, and people who had become like family. 

Dan recalls the moment it was time to take Eva back home. 

“When I carried her out of the room, all the nurses and doctors lined the corridor,” he says. 

Eva’s legacy 

When Eva passed away, Dani and Dan made a promise: to fundraise in her name and help others. 

From recently hosting a charity ball (called In The Stars) to taking part in RBC Race for the Kids every year, the family has already done an incredible amount for GOSH Charity. 

Eva’s older brother, Brandon, even calls RBC Race for the Kids “Eva’s Race”. 

“He’s only four and a half, but he completely understands that all the fundraising we do is in Eva’s memory,” Dani says. 

“He loved her to bits. He’s asked for a picture of him and Eva on his bed stand. She’s still very much his sister, and a part of all of our lives.” she says. “He remembers coming to the hospital to see her. And the nurses remember him zooming down the corridor.” 

 Walkie Talkie Tower Climb 

The next fundraising event for Dan is the Walkie Talkie Tower Climb, which he’ll be doing alongside his colleagues at TriConnex on 29 February. 

“It’s a very different event. We’ve got a team of varying abilities; nobody is a professional athlete,” he explains. 

The event caught his attention after seeing photos of last year’s Tower Climb. He’s looking forward to seeing the Sky Garden for the first time and checking out its amazing view of London. Dani and their two sons, Brandon and Tristan, will be there to watch. 

Any fundraising tips? 

“Spread the word!” he says, adding: “Don’t put pressure on yourself. If you raise £100 that’s £100 the hospital didn’t have yesterday.” 

“And if you have a GOSH story, make it personal." 

The true magic of GOSH 

Having spent six and a half months at GOSH, Dani and Dan hold GOSH fondly. 

“I always remember walking through the wards and through the corridors and you see the parents' faces and you can see the strain and the stress and the worry engraved on them, but when you look at the child you can see they’re smiling and happy and laughing and even excited to be there,” Dani says. 

“I think that’s a testament to the people who work there, who go above and beyond to make something that could be quite scary and terrifying to a child into something that is manageable, and they can look forward to. 

“I think that’s the true magic of GOSH – the children aren’t seen as just patients, or numbers, they’re first and foremost seen as children,” she adds. 

“The environment is so important to lifting both your and your child’s spirits.” 

Follow in Dan's foosteps and take on our Walkie Talkie Tower Climb this February. Click the button below for details. 

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