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Grieving Herne Bay dad to recreate daughter Eva Giles' last journey by running 68 miles in one day

By Marijke Hall

Two years ago in April, Eva Giles – the little girl with the infectious laugh and unwavering spirit –made her final journey from hospital to her home where she died in the arms of her family.

She was just five years old and had spent almost a year bravely battling a rare brain tumour Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma before her parents Dean and Emma made the decision to bring her back to Herne Bay to say goodbye.

To mark the anniversary of the poignant journey and raise money for Eva’s Angels – our sister paper the Kentish Gazette’s charity of the year – Dean is preparing to run 68 miles in one day, taking the same route Eva made before she died on April 7, 2017.

Dean Giles is preparing to run 68 miles in one day to raise money for Eva's Angels. (7188549)
Dean Giles is preparing to run 68 miles in one day to raise money for Eva's Angels. (7188549)

“It was with bone weary sadness and unspeakable grief that we made the choice to move her from St George’s Hospital intensive care unit in London back home where doctors would remove her life support machine,” Dean explained.

“She travelled in the ambulance with Mum, while I drove back ahead to explain to our other two children that it was the last time they were going to see their sister. Our only consolation was Eva passed away quietly in our arms, safely in a place she knew and loved.”

Dean, 40, who lives in Mickleburgh Hill with wife Emma and their children Euan, 10, and Rosie, five, says a small team will re-create that journey from Tooting to Herne Bay on Saturday, April 6, including James Maybourn, who runs James Fitness and is helping with the training.

Eva Giles died from an aggressive brain tumour aged just five.
Eva Giles died from an aggressive brain tumour aged just five.

Dean and Emma say through charities Taylor Made Dreams and the Make A Wish Foundation, they were able to take Eva and their other children away to create magical memories.

Their own experience led to them buy a caravan in Swalecliffe last year and set up Eva’s Angels to help families like themselves make lasting memories or reconnect after the tragic death of a child.

They are hoping to raise £15,000, which will go towards buying another caravan to give families affected by childhood cancer a holiday.

“We want to raise £40,000 this year for a new one and also to do work on the existing caravan to make it easier for those who have a child in a wheelchair,” said Emma.

“It’s really important that families have this time together. It’s so important for siblings too.

Rosie, Emma, Dean and Euan Giles outside of the caravan in Seaview Holiday Park. Picture: Alan Langley. ..... ...... (3374484)
Rosie, Emma, Dean and Euan Giles outside of the caravan in Seaview Holiday Park. Picture: Alan Langley. ..... ...... (3374484)

“Euan was just seven and eight when everything happened. He was very lost after Eva died. She was his playmate. He lost so much and I don’t think he really knew what to do.

“He’s had some great help from Demelza’s Hospice.

“We want to give something back to those who helped us.”

To donate visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/evas-ultra

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