Kiwi teen Eva McGauley, who captured Meghan Markle's heart, loses battle with cancer

Danielle Stacey
Royal Correspondent

A Kiwi teenager, who created an online messaging service for sexual violence victims, has lost her battle with cancer. 

Eva McGauley, 19, met the Duke and Duchess of Sussex at Government House in Wellington, New Zealand during their royal tour and gave Meghan Markle a copy of the book she’d been a part of 200 Women: Who Will Change the Way You See the World

Sadly, her family confirmed via her Instagram page that Eva passed away this week, surrounded by family and friends.

We are heartbroken to tell you all that Eva left us yesterday morning,” the post reads.


“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.”

Eva was diagnosed with asopharyngeal carcinoma – a rare type of head and neck cancer – in 2015 and while undergoing treatment, she began campaigning for women’s rights. 

She set up her own charity called Eva’s Wish in 2016, with the aim of stopping sexual violence and supporting survivors.


In April this year Safe to Talk, the government-run sexual harm helpline she helped create, was launched.

The service, which provides information and contacts with trained specialists, can be accessed by phone, text, email and online chat.

Eva’s work has helped to raise more than $70,000. She was also a finalist of the 2018 Youth Wellys at the Wellingtonian of the Year award.

Her friend Simon Woolf, a Wellington city councillor, told Stuff.co.nz that during the royal visit, Eva had made an impression on the Duchess of Sussex. 

“She was saying to Harry what an amazing girl she was,” he said.