Fundraisers set up for Survivor evictee
Last night's tribal council left fans heartbroken as they mourn the departure of charismatic player Luke Toki, who many hoped would nab the sole Survivor crown.
So heartbroken, several have taken to fundraising platform GoFundMe in a call for donations for the father of three.
Toki, a father of three young children, had a powerful reason for signing up to the show in the hopes of winning the 500k prize.
His two boys are both on the autism spectrum, while baby Madeline, born just six weeks before Survivor started filming, has cystic fibrosis. Throughout the season, he was vocal about his intentions to use the money to provide a better life for his family.
The FIFO worker from WA, affectionately dubbed the 'King of the Jungle' when he appeared on the 2017 season of Survivor, secured himself as a favourite early on. Not just for his heartbreaking backstory, but his boyish charm and enthusiasm in playing the game.
The fan favourite had scored 70% of votes in a recent news.com.au reader poll asking who should win, with Pia Miranda a distant second at 15%.
Alas, he was sent home this evening, despite making a desperate pitch to remaining ally Pia as tribal council approached.
Pia wept as she promised she'd consider his proposal carefully. "I really wanted you to win the money if I didn't … cos I know that you need it," she said.
But when it came time for the tribal council, the actress broke down in tears as she cast her vote for Luke, securing herself a spot in the top three.
As the penultimate episode of the season came to a close, fans wasted no time in expressing their disappointment - with a whopping 27 GoFundMe pages set up to raise money for the young dad.
One, created by super fan Dave Skow, raised almost $9,000 in less than an hour after the episode ended.
"Let's be honest … Luke Toki is the best Australian Survivor contestant, ever," Dave wrote on the fundraising page.
"We first met the FIFO worker from Western Australia two years ago when he made a name for himself as the 'King of the Jungle' on the 2017 season of Survivor.
"Then this year saw his return as a Champion in the 2019 season. Leaving behind his young family, he had one aim - to take out the title of Sole Survivor and in turn, win $500k to provide a better life for them."
Pointing out how "life changing" the $500k prize money would have been for the family, he asked fans to "rally together" to collect the funds instead.
"Whilst Luke stumbled near the finish line and was voted out in the top 4, true Survivor fans will recognise that he is the greatest Australian player ever to grace our screens. So let's rally behind this Aussie legend and change this awesome young family's life," he concluded.
Viewers also flocked to Twitter following the difficult decision faced by Looking for Alibrandi star Pia Miranda, with mixed opinions of her opting to vote Luke out.
Pia is allowed to play for herself. Just because someone has a “good story” doesn’t mean she should give up her chance to win #SurvivorAU— GG (@ggg_samm) September 16, 2019
Me right now #SurvivorAU I get why Pia did it & I hope she wins. But as a mum of 2 autistic boys. That was hard to watch Luke go out knowing what that money would mean for his kids & family. pic.twitter.com/KfOrLHq0iY— flashblak (@flashblak) September 16, 2019
Some observations:— Rain Man 31 (@DamoGrima) September 16, 2019
1. Don’t hate the player, hate the game
2. Pia has the same chance of making top 2 regardless of whether she saved Luke or not
3. Harry has played the best game out of the final three #SurvivorAU
Am I devastated? Yes. Would I have made the same move as Pia? Absolutely. #SurvivorAU— Jordan Archer (@JordanArcher11) September 16, 2019
Well played Pia! It’s called Survivor for a reason : ) #SurvivorAU— Nathan Smith (@NathanASmith) September 16, 2019
With Pia, Harry and Baden the top three, this season of Australian Survivor concludes with Tuesday night's finale, 7:30pm on Ten.