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30/06/2017

Terminally ill teen Eva McGauley poses for top NZ fashion label to fund her charity

Eva McGauley was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2015 and has dedicated the rest of her life to making the world safer ...
(Photo:formal dresses sydney)

If you found out you had a terminal illness, what would your dying wish be? For many, the bucket list might include visiting those places you've always dreamed of, meeting your idols or just cramming as much fun as possible into the time you had left.

Eva McGauley, however, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2015, has just one, quite different wish - to create a safer world for the loved ones she will leave behind.

What makes the Wellington teenager's wish even more special is that she's actually achieving it, having already raised nearly $60,000 for HELP, a charity that provides support for sexual abuse survivors.

And what's perhaps most remarkable of all is that she's just 17 years old.

McGauley raised the money for HELP via her own charity Eva's Wish, which she started "to create a world where I feel safe leaving my loved ones without me being there to protect them".

"We were on the side of a hill in a park in Auckland and there were lots of very confused-looking passersby! It was just me and one photographer so it looked like I was just being really over the top with the quality of my Instagram photos! It was a great day and I had a wonderful time."

The Lonely link came about after the company contacted McGauley to offer their support and gift her a Lonely store credit.

"Lonely very lovingly reached out to me at Christmas time last year to tell me that they loved the work I was doing and that I had $1000 worth of credit in their Wellington store to spend on whatever I liked!

"When I thanked them I asked if there was any way Eva's Wish and Lonely could work together in the future, eventually we came up with this idea."

Eva's Wish launches as an organisation tonight in Wellington, where McGauley will speak alongside one of her own heroes, sexual violence rights advocate Louise Nicholas.

"Anya asked why I didn't just message her and I said I was too nervous! Luckily Anya convinced me and just as it turned midnight I messaged Louise, and she replied. I met that goal very quickly!

"After that we had coffee in Wellington and stayed in touch, so I asked her to come and speak at the Eva's Wish launch about why organisations like Eva's Wish are so important."

McGauley's instinct for helping others spans much of her life so far, long before her diagnosis.

"I have been lucky enough to grow up in a very politically aware family so I have always felt a strong sense of activism and need to help others," she says.

"When I was 13, I went to my high school feminist club for the first time and fell in love with the cause. I began volunteering for Wellington Rape Crisis and joined the Wellington City Youth Council, both of which gave me a chance to help people in my community - something I found very rewarding."

"One in three girls and one in seven boys in New Zealand will be sexually abused before they turn 16. When these statistics stopped being numbers and started being people I cared about I knew this was a problem that I wanted to fix."

So how does one very sick, tired, but driven teenager manage to run such a successful charity?

"I manage because I have the world's best mum. I do Eva's Wish but she does everything else for me. Thanks mum!"Read more at:evening gowns

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