The family of a young Cook Islands man is fundraising to bring him home from Australia to be laid to rest in Titikaveka.
Behind his beautiful smile, Andrew Dominique Hoggart Teao, 24, was fighting severe depression and mental health issues. Sadly, on New Year’s Eve he took his own life.
His sister Esther Paeara, who spoke to Cook Islands News from Australia, said their family’s wish was to return to Titikaveka to lay her brother to rest.
The family has started an online fundraising campaign, and any amount of financial help would be greatly appreciated, she said.
Family members have travelled from Rarotonga to Australia to support their family through the tragic loss of a loving son, daddy, brother, uncle, cousin and friend.
A memorial service was held for family and friends based in Australia yesterday, where memories and stories were shared by those who loved him.
A passionate and talented rugby league player, Hoggart had the x-factor on the field and great potential. He remembered fondly by the Toowoomba Rugby League Club as a powerful runner and hard hitting in defence.
An integral part of the Goondiwindi Boars A-grade side throughout the 2018 season, the talented forward had since moved on to play and coach in Griffith in northern New South Wales.
In memory of their beloved team mate those who were unable to travel to Brisbane and the Cook Islands the Griffith Black & Whites Rugby League Football Club came together to reflect and remember their team mate, coach and friend.
Funeral service details in Rarotonga Cook will be confirmed and updated as they are known and Hoggart’s family will be accompanying him home to Titikaveka and his final resting place.
A GoFundMe fundraiser has been set up by Hoggart’s sister Esther and friend Taleah Neven to cover some of the costs after the tragic and unexpected loss.
Neven wrote that Andrew would be remembered for his big heart, his willingness to put others before himself, his values, his humour – but sadly, she said, he had lost his battle with depression and taken his own life.
“His family need financial assistance for some family members to make the travel and to also go towards all expenses incurred due to their tragic and unexpected loss,” she said.
“No one ever truly prepares for these moments and when it happens the financial burden while trying to mourn the loss of a loved one can become overwhelming.”
By last night $1927 had been raised. The goal is to raise $10,000. To donate, go to: https://www.gofundme.com/f/family-devasated-by-suicide
WHERE TO GET HELP:
If you or someone you know needs support, please contact:
* the Mental Health team at the Ministry of Health on 20066
* Youthline on 0800 HELP
* mental health support organisation Te Kainga O Pa Taunga on 20162, or 50633 in emergencies
* family counselling centre Punanga Tauturu Inc on 21133, or 55973 in emergencies