A teenager who met Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in New Zealand has died of cancer.
Eva McGauley was diagnosed with asopharyngeal carcinoma – a rare type of head and neck cancer – when she was 16.
Despite the crushing blow, she continued to fight for a better world – raising money for a sexual abuse assistance programme and eventually founding Eva’s Wish, with the aim of stopping sexual violence and supporting survivors.
On October 30, Eva met the Duke and Duchess of Sussex at Government House, in Wellington, New Zealand, during the couple’s royal tour.
The 18-year-old was invited to attend the Prime Minister’s Reception in Auckland but due to her health, was unable to fly.
When Meghan and Harry heard Eva’s story, they invited her for a quick catch-up at Government House instead.
Speaking about the meeting on her Instagram page, Eva said: “I am so honoured and thankful to have been invited to Government House to meet with Meghan and Harry this morning!!!
“They are such kind down to earth people who were really interested in the work EvasWish does.
“We were welcomed so warmly by Dame Patsy Reedy and Sir David Gascoigne into their lovely home and it was one of the most memorable and wonderful moments of my life.
“Thank you so much to everyone who made this happen.”
This year, Eva started a Bachelor of Arts majoring in political science at Victoria University.
She died yesterday morning at her home in Wellington.
A post on the official Eva’s Wish Instagram page read: “We are heartbroken to tell you all that Eva left us yesterday morning.
“It was very fast and peaceful and she was surrounded by her loved ones.
“Thank you so much to all of you who have followed Eva’s journey and supported her dreams.
“We expect the funeral will be later in the week in Wellington – will keep you all posted here once we’ve finalised the details.”
After her initial diagnosis in February 2015, Eva had intensive chemotherapy and radiotherapy and was told initially she was in remission.
She later learned the cancer had spread to her hip and a lymph node in her chest and the disease was terminal.
Eva previously she drew strength to keep going by doing “the things that I really love and enjoy”.
“[And] what’s the alternative?,” she said.
“Locking yourself away and just being sad – that’s never been an option for me.”