'It's Going To Set Up My Kids': GoFundMe Campaigns Have Raised Over $430,000 For Luke Toki
After Luke Toki's devastating exit from 'Australian Survivor', Australians have opened up their wallets in support of the Toki family.
While Lukey might have missed out on the $500,000 prize money, fans are hoping to raise the same amount through donations, which have already surpassed a whopping $430,000.
Speaking to 10 daily the morning after his elimination, Luke said he was "speechless" after seeing how much money had been raised for him.
"There are so many people going through hardships, I don’t know I guess mine’s all documented and people enjoyed watching me. I’m extremely grateful," he said.
Luke said that the money will set his family up, helping to support his newborn daughter who has cystic fibrosis and his two sons, who both have autism.
"We obviously do have to look after Madeleine and the boys have a lot of therapies and stuff like that so it’s definitely going to set up my kids and look after my family," Luke told 10 daily.
Nicola Britton, GoFundMe's Regional Manager of Australia, told 10 daily that overnight, over 30 campaigns were started in support of Luke.
"The story behind Luke and why he wanted to contend in the first place was to help his family," explained Nicola.
"We see that ‘medical’ is actually one of the top categories on GoFundMe in Australia. Often it’s the unexpected cost of illness and having children with sicknesses such as travel expenses and relocating to be near hospitals," said Nicola.
How Do We Know Which Funds Are Legitimate?
When dozens of campaigns pop up, it can be hard for fans to know which one they should be donating to, but Nicola told 10 daily that GoFundMe works to ensure all the money raised reaches the Toki family.
"We actually have a trust and safety team working around the clock and they had been keeping on top of them overnight to make sure they were all within our terms of service," Britton explained.
She added that, usually, one account will take the lead and some organisers will "notice there's one central fund and divert their donations there".
"They’ll make sure all the money across all 30 campaigns, whether it’s $10 or $100,000 which is about what the main campaign is about to reach," said Nicola.
The crowdfunding website has been in touch with Luke's wife Mary as well as the organisers of the campaigns, who describe themselves as super fans of 'Survivor' and Luke, but Nicola said the outpouring is part of a larger trend of generosity as well.
"I think the support for Luke is part of a broader kind of momentum of these random acts of kindness happening every day that we see on GoFundMe where people are donating to strangers," she said.
"Around 60 percent of GoFundMe campaigns 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 from individuals in the community."
The main fund on the website was started by Dave Skow, who has called on fans to "rally behind this Aussie legend".
Skow explained to 10 daily that he was "gutted" after seeing Luke eliminated in fourth place and immediately set up the crowdfunding page.
"I was really teary, it really caught me by surprise, my whole household was really emotional," Skow said.
The real estate agency owner from Wagga Wagga's page has received the most funds among the dozens of other pages, which he attributes to the initial sum he kicked in himself.
"I chipped in $500 to start it off, of my own money, to give it a bit of validity and show that it was a serious attempt to raise money," he said.
Skow -- a 'Survivor' super fan -- is hoping the total sum reaches half a million to support Luke and his family.
Donations range from $5 to $100 and the sum continues to grow by the minute.
You can visit Dave's crowdfunding page here.