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Saturday, 28 March 2015 00:00

Ed to run London Marathon for Eva

Trustee Ed Williams is running the London Marathon in order to fund four new CWB coaching ambassadors – including one who is very close to his heart.

Eva Kawira an 18-year-old nursing student from Thika, Kenya. She is bright, bubbly and has the world at her feet.

But 10 years ago her grip on life was fragile and fading as she appeared to be in the final stages of her fight against AIDS.

Ed and fellow trustees Chris Kangis and Andy Hobbs met Eva in the slums outside Nairobi in January 2006 on their original trip, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.

Ed said: “She had been in her sick bed for many days, but when she saw all the other children playing she got up and was determined to be just like them. We made sure she hit the winning runs and her smile still lights me up 10 years later.”

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The trustees continued their travels not knowing what had become of Eva but fearing the worst. But the story didn’t end there.

Ed said: “We carried on our trip, assuming that Eva had sadly died as she was so sick. When we got back to England a year later the British High Commission in Nairobi contacted us to show pictures of the children still playing cricket with the equipment we had left them.

“They also sent a picture of a slightly chubby looking little girl: it was Eva, she had got the anti-retroviral drugs a few days after we had visited her. We had no doubt that being just like all the other children that day, kept her alive for those extra few hours.”

Since then many CWB volunteers have been inspired by the story of Eva, having heard Ed recount it at numerous training weekends. And nine years after the trustees first met Eva, a new chapter has been written.

In spring 2014 a CWB project returned to Thika and neighbouring Murang’a for the first time since the original trip and managed to track Eva down. She is now living with her sister Susan and is hoping to become a nurse.

In autumn 2014 another CWB team met up with Eva and spoke to her about her journey from sickness to health and the effect of the trustees’ visit a decade earlier.

She said: “Playing cricket make me think about how I will get better, not how I will die. My life changed from there. I realised I can be the same as other children, I can be strong, I can have a future. “They encouraged me to see another life, another future, another Eva. I cannot find the words to thank them enough.”

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Just £750 will pay for a CWB coaching ambassador to promote cricket and raise HIV/AIDS awareness in schools for a whole year. Ed hopes to fund four through sponsorship for his marathon to add to the growing number currently employed in Africa.

And he hopes Eva will be able to use her experience as a role model for children in Kenya.

He said: “Meeting Eva and finding out what has happened to her has had a huge effect on me. I hope that the monies we raise will be able to allow us to use her in an ambassador role to tell her life affirming story to other Kenya school children and inspire them like she has us.”

To sponsor Ed please click here.

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