General — 30 March 2018 — by Albert J. Ciego
Eva Middleton, activist and manager for BAPDA, dies

BELIZE CITY, Tues. Mar. 27, 2018– Well-known activist for the Belize Association of People with Diverse Abilities (BAPDA), Eva Narcisa Middleton, 65, died Saturday morning at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where she was hospitalized after she suffered a massive stroke about two weeks ago. Information to us is that her condition had been improving, and she was to have been released, but things took a turn for the worse and she passed away.

Eva Middleton, who was born in Punta Gorda, was a career teacher, a Girl-Guide leader, and one of the founders of the NGO, Breast is Best. She was active in the church, and in her community in Lake Independence, Belize City.

In her later life she impacted lives throughout the country, through her efforts at BAPDA, an organization that is governed by the Constitution of Belize and also by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

She was a driving force in the effort to get assistance for people with disabilities, and she was very passionate and bold in the endeavor. She formed national and international collaborations to secure help for people with disabilities.

Middleton, who was a diabetic and an amputee, became a household name because she regularly called the morning shows to give information about the different activities the organizations that care for the disabled would be conducting from time to time.  She was unceasing in her efforts to bring the plight of disabled people to the forefront, although there were many difficulties.

Locally, she collaborated with various agencies that help people with disabilities, and advocated publicly for their support. She advocated for ramps at government buildings, so that disabled people could have easier access. She helped start the organization, LIFE (Living Independently in Full Existence), which looks after the health and care of elderly persons. Today, this organization is managed by Sister Carlette Gentle, a trained social worker and member of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth.

Internationally, she collaborated with organizations to help the disabled in the country to gain access to prosthetic legs, wheelchairs, diapers, and other essentials.

In an interview with Amandala some time ago, Eva Middleton told us that volunteers are trained to care for the elderly, and they go to their homes to care for them. The elderly  are assisted with food, and a little money, and are taken to see the doctor whenever they have appointments. She told us that they have a social event once each month, at which the elderly play games and can win prizes. At the end of these events, they are returned to their homes.

Speaking on the passing of Eva Middleton, Sister Carlette Gentle  told us that she was very instrumental in introducing her to the different organizations that care for the elderly. Sister Carlette said that Middleton was a generous person, and she will never be forgotten. She said that LIFE has now grown to about 60 members.

Roxanne Marin, the president of BAPDA, said that the organization will continue to promote optimism in the lives of persons living with diverse abilities, and to advocate and protect their members, and will continue to lobby with the government and the public.

She said that the nation of Belize has suffered a tremendous loss. Middleton, Marin said, was an amazing, loving, giving person, who sometimes made miracles happen.  She said that Middleton will surely be missed.

Marin promised that her work, advocating for services for persons with disabilities where no such services are available, will continue.  She said the organization will continue the fight to see that better services are delivered to persons with disabilities in Belize.

Eva Middleton is predeceased by her parents, two sisters, and a brother. She is survived by five children: Rhonda Middleton-Roches, Evalee Middleton-Locario, TrudeAnn Middleton, Gilroy Middleton Jr. and David Middleton. She also leaves to mourn her passing, her sisters, Felina Apolonio and Rhoda Coe; her brothers, Wallace Cayetano and Michael Cayetano of Punta Gorda Town; and a host of grandchildren, nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews, other relatives, and close friends.

Eva Middleton will be buried tomorrow, Wednesday, in Belize City. The funeral service will be at 11:00 in the morning, at St. Martin De Porres RC Church, on Vernon Street. The body will lie in state from 10:00 a.m. at the church. After the ceremony she will be taken to the Lord Ridge Cemetery to be buried.

A repast will be conducted at Swift Hall, St. Martin De Porres Church, after the burial.

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Deshawn Swasey

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