Swim for a CURE Community Spotlight: Meet Eva Harris

By Emily Usher | 19 March 2024

After losing her mum to cancer, Eva Harris was determined to honour her memory and make a difference to other cancer patients and their families. Here, she shares how she took to the water to Swim for a CURE…

Growing up, Eva Harris was always close to her mum. The only daughter in the family (Eva has two brothers), they naturally loved spending time together, sharing a love of good food and girly high teas. Eva’s mum was a social butterfly, and lived for friends and family. All of them knew that whenever a problem arose, Eva’s mum was the go-to person to help them fix it.

“Mum was an amazing woman, a true trailblazer,” remembers Eva fondly. “She knew how to get on with everyone – people really admired her no bullshit attitude. She was never scared to speak up when something wasn’t being done right. She loved going out and socialising, but she also enjoyed being home, getting lost in Candy Crush battles on the couch.”

In September 2022, Eva’s mum received devastating news. She had been diagnosed with cancer. Doctors recommended chemo and immunotherapy, and treatment began immediately,

“By January, Mum wasn’t looking too bad,” says Eva. “The treatment had kept the cancer from growing, but didn’t shrink it.”

For a brief time, life began to feel normal again. But at the end of that summer, Eva’s mum was pottering around the house when a sneeze triggered an ache in her back that wouldn’t subside. A couple of weeks passed before she decided to have the pain investigated. The doctor referred her for a scan, and she was shocked to discover that she had broken some vertebrae in her back. Not only that, the scan also confirmed Eva’s family’s worst fears.

“The cancer had spread to other places, including her ribs and throughout her hips. The disease had become really aggressive, and Mum started spending more time in hospital, often for weeks at a time.”

By late-Autumn, Eva’s mum had become reliant on a wheelchair, but the family still made sure they continued to spend time together and form special memories.

“We as a family with all our partners decided to organise a High Tea at the Ritz Carlton for Mum on Mother’s Day,” remembers Eva. “It was clear she was really unwell by then. Dad had to take her to hospital straight after we had eaten as Mum was in discomfort and had hardly touched her plate. Mother’s Day turned out to be her last outing with us.”

Eva’s mum remained in hospital for the rest of May, moving to hospice care the following month. “Mum’s doctors prepared us for the fact that quality of life was now outweighing the quantity. There were a couple of weeks in the hospice where she seemed comfortable, but then the cancer started to really take a hold and we knew she was getting ready to pass. On 6th of July at 6:05am, Mum died peacefully with Dad and her sister by her side.”

After her mum’s passing, Eva became determined to find ways to honour her, and came across Cure Cancer’s Swim for a Cure. “Me and Mum both loved being in the water, so I thought it would be a really good fit. Not only would I be able to raise money in memory of my mum, I’d also be supporting other families going through cancer”.

Since then, Eva has been keeping busy with the event, and has committed to raising $4,000 by swimming 30km in March. Incredibly, she’s well on her way to her target, having already raised over $3,000!

“I’m just keeping focused on my swimming, and making sure I share my fundraising page and encourage others to do the same. I’ve got a good group of friends and family that have joined my journey and supported me through every step of the process.”

“Cancer affects so many people, and impacts their families, friends and loved ones. Supporting cancer research is the only way we can change that. I’m looking forward to seeing how much I can raise, and the difference I can make to finding the cure.”

Thank you so much to Eva for sharing her story, and for taking part in Swim for a CURE. Help Eva reach her fundraising target by donating to her page today.