Abseiling for Evelina London: Eva's Army
Emily and Nick Redmond are taking on the St Thomas’ abseil to raise money for Evelina London to say thanks for the ongoing care of their two-year-old daughter, Eva-Mei. Emily’s mum, Diana Jones, has bravely joined them and together they are Eva’s Army.
At 25 weeks of pregnancy, Emily’s unborn baby Eva-Mei was diagnosed with spina bifida. Spina bifida is a gap in the spine caused by a baby's vertebrae and spinal cord not developing properly in the womb. This usually damages the nervous system, leading to problems such as weakness or paralysis of the legs and incontinence.
Eva was born in December 2015 and referred to Evelina London for treatment five months later. Following her birth, she was diagnosed with several other conditions including scoliosis, club foot, muscle weakness and urinary problems.
She has since received a back brace to correct her scoliosis and has a urinary catheter inserted several times a day to drain her bladder. To fix her club foot, Eva has had surgery on her Achilles heel, along with braces and a splint to support her feet and ankles. Over the past two years, Eva has been treated for a range of deficiencies and endured many scans, tests and check-ups.
‘During pregnancy we were given a very tough outlook as to what Eva's future and mobility would look like,’ says Emily. ‘We never expected her to stand, walk or even crawl, but thanks to the treatment and care she’s received at Evelina London, she is able to stand aided and is learning how to walk with a frame.’
Abseiling for Eva
Emily and Nick had spoken about giving back to Evelina London in some way, but they weren’t sure where to begin. When they saw the posters for the abseil, they knew it was a great way to start and Emily’s mum was keen to be involved. Eva’s Army have been busy fundraisers and they’ve already beaten their original target of £525. Emily says:
‘None of us have ever been abseiling as adults. My mum Diana is terrified of heights and has recently finished treatment for breast cancer, so it will be a scary experience for her. Eva and many kids like her face even bigger fears than an abseil on a daily basis, and if they can do it then so can we (we hope)!’
Despite all that Eva has been through over the past two years, she continues to defy the odds and Emily and Nick have seen her achieve things they didn’t think would be possible. They hope that the money they raise can go towards helping families in a similar situation.
‘The care we’ve received is beyond anything we could have hoped for and we are so grateful to the doctors for everything they do for her,’ says Emily. ‘We are abseiling to raise money for Evelina London because the work they do is incredible and life-changing, and we hope it will continue for as long as possible.’
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Lead image: Emily, Nick and Eva-Mei