Soon after turning 24, Evan Alexander Burgess passed away quietly at 9:03 pm on 17th of October, 2018, five days after an operation to insert an internal defibrillator, Evan suffered a massive blood clot.
Our aim is to raise money to purchase teddy bears to give to the children of the Ronald McDonald Houses in London, with plans to raise money for the Cleveland and Vancouver Ronald McDonald Houses in the near future. Having undergone medical procedures from an early age, Evan understood the importance of having a comforting friend by your side. During a confusing and often scary experience, a snuggly teddy bear could help calm a child's fears during their illness. The teddy bear will become a permanent member of the child's family, beyond their stay at Ronald McDonald House.
In Cleveland, Ohio, Evan Burgess was born 4th September 1994 with a heart condition that resulted in him having only a portion of his heart functioning properly. Doctors gave Evan two years to live after his birth, but he beat all the odds and grew to be a strong-willed young boy, defying the doctors and his weak heart. Evan evolved from an awkward, anxious and insecure boy into a handsome charming young man loved by everyone around him. His physical heart had always been fragile, but despite its weakness, it was a force of light driving him forward. Evan, in fact, had a heart of gold. His heart was running with love alone.
Through his 24 year years, he experienced many medical challenges including long train rides and walks to and from hospitals; numerous doctor visits; hours spent in waiting rooms; lab tests involving needles, blood work, echograms, MRIs, ECG; and all the medical jargon that went with his condition. Yet, one would never know from looking at him, that by the end of his life, his heart's left ventricle was only functioning at half capacity. He never let his heart slow him down. He was eager to experience life to its fullest which also meant surrounding himself with family and friends.
Evan never let his age define who he could relate to. He was equally comfortable goofing off with his much younger cousins or cooking dinner with his 93-year old grandfather. His cousins always loved being around Evan. He was joyful, fun and silly with them, yet sensitive to their feelings and incredibly thoughtful. They loved being with him equally as he wanted to be with them. He was genuinely interested in everything they had going on, and they felt really safe in his presence. When Evan was 21, one of his younger cousins who was 13, compared Evan to "one of the oldest 16 year olds" he’d ever met, meaning Evan could get down to his level and just hang. But he now says there is no reason to miss Evan, because he lives in our hearts now.
In order to honor the memory of Evan, his family and friends have started Evan’s Bears, which is meant to represent Evan’s love and kindness to children also having to deal with various medical issues. Evan’s Bears are meant to comfort those children and their siblings. It is fitting that teddy bears should bring love and joy to all of the children in the comfort of the Ronald McDonald House who are facing their own medical challenges.
At Evan’s memorial service in Cleveland, Evan’s family collected over 120 bears; all of which have been donated to Ronald McDonald House in Cleveland, Ohio. Since then, more have been coming in and the family is expecting more bears in London and Vancouver, which they plan to also bring to local Ronald McDonald Houses. Nothing would touch Evan’s heart as much as this legacy. We hope Evan’s Bears give the love and comfort that we know Evan, himself, would love to give.
If you wish to contribute to the memorial teddy bear fund Evan's Bears, each £8 ($10) donation will provide a brand new, 13" teddy bear for a child at the London Ronald McDonald House. Each bear will sport a heart-shaped tag labeled "Evan's Bears." On the reverse side is room for your name or a personal message, up to 30 characters.
Evan lived in Surrey, England for 16 years receiving treatment at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London, therefore, we're raising money to provide teddy bears for ill children and their siblings who are staying at the four Ronald McDonald Houses in London, and any donation will help. Thank you in advance for your contribution to this cause that means so much to Evan's family and friends.
More information about Ronald McDonald House Charities: Ronald McDonald House Charities is an independent charity that provides free 'home away from home' accommodation and support for families with children in hospital. Ronald McDonald Houses are all just moments away from their respective children's wards, with plans for further developments well under-way.
Please visit the beautiful tribute to Evan Burgess from Ronald McDonald house:
"The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long." (Lao Tzu, Te Tao Ching). In Evan's case, his flame burned multiple times brighter. He lived his life with loving passion. He is truly going to be missed by so many people.
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*One tiny correction in the video: Evan donated both of his kidneys and thus saved two lives.