reality tv

Luke Toki didn't win Survivor but it doesn't matter. Fans have just raised $500k for him.

On Monday night, Australians nationwide wept.

Survivor fan-favourite Luke Toki was brutally eliminated; his flame flattened.

Actress and Survivor contestant Pia Miranda was left with the heart-wrenching deciding vote, that ultimately saw her write down Luke’s name during Tribal Council – denying him the $500,000 prize money that is awarded to the winner.

Listen: We interviewed Luke from Survivor and he talked about Pia, his daughter’s health, and the GoFundMe. Post continues after. 

A nation in mourning, fans of the Channel 10 show have set up a GoFundMe page for Luke to raise the prize money equivalent.

Luke’s reasoning for being a contestant on the show was powerful.

When he left for Fiji, he was leaving his wife at home with their three kids, including their six-week-old daughter born with cystic fibrosis.

“I’m definitely here to win it for my family. I’ve sacrificed a lot to be out here this time… my daughter was six weeks old [when I left for Fiji],” he said during the season.

“She’s been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, so it was worst-case scenario for me, leaving. I’m definitely here for the money because obviously, the money will help my family – every move I make in this game is super critical.”

Watch our interview with Luke Toki below, post continues after video.

Video by MMC

Luke and Mary are also parents to two sons. Their eldest son, Lennox, was diagnosed with autism at the age of three, and their middle child, Nate, was diagnosed with a condition called Global Developmental Delay (GDD).

His desire to better the life of his family resonated with fans. In less than 48 hours of being booted off, Australians have raised a staggering $500,000, with the amount growing by the second.

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The fundraising page was set up by Survivor superfan Dave Skow, who has assured Australians that he has been in contact with Luke’s wife, Mary. The Toki family’s bank details have been provided, with all funds being directed to their account.

Speaking to Mamamia, Nicola Britton, Regional Manager at GoFundMe Australia shared that the fundraiser is the fastest-growing on GoFundMe in 2019, and the third biggest to date.

“Over the past 48 hours, we have witnessed thousands of individual acts of kindness as Aussies across the country have chipped in to help a family worthy of their dollars. Over $500,000 has been raised to support Luke Toki and his family,” she said.

“The outpour of support behind Luke is part of a broader social fundraising movement driven by technology and individuals tapping into their personal networks to help spread support for others in their times of need.

“Around 60 per cent of GoFundMe campaigns in Australia are started on behalf of someone else or somebody they haven’t met before. It’s a new era of fundraising driven by empathy and compassion.”

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On Survivor, Luke spoke about what the prize money would mean to them.

“Being a father to me means everything. I haven’t succeeded in sport or whatever but my boys, daughter and wife, that’s obviously what I treasure the most. If I win $500,000 it would be life-changing for my family. It’ll give my kids a future that I want to give them so that’s why I’m doing it.”

When Luke and Mary’s daughter, Madeline Snow Toki, was born in March this year, he shared what his daughter’s diagnosis means for their family life.

Madeline was born with intestinal atresia and after three weeks spent in a neonatal intensive care unit, the family learnt she had been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.

“Life will now consist of a highly rigid regime of medications, physiotherapy and specialist appointments for the rest of her life as we try to keep her as healthy as possible and avoid hospital admissions. We will try to keep life as normal as possible for her and with medical advances these days she has a promising future ahead.”

You can donate to the GoFundMe page for Luke Toki here


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