TOUCHING TRIBUTE: Cousins Mia Tanusoski (right) and Indiana Hawkins pass the cash they raised to Ipswich Hospice Care's  Paul Brew.
TOUCHING TRIBUTE: Cousins Mia Tanusoski (right) and Indiana Hawkins pass the cash they raised to Ipswich Hospice Care's Paul Brew. Rob Williams

Tragedy inspires donation

LOSING a parent is one of the hardest experiences anyone can go through.

For eight-year-old Indiana Hawkins, that time came way too early.

She has been grieving the loss of her mother, Rebecca Tanusoki, who passed away on August 6 after a brave battle against bowel cancer. She was 34 years old.

Indiana had to watch her beloved mum go through chemotherapy before the heartbreaking time came when nothing more could be done.

In the final weeks of her life, Rebecca was transferred to the Ipswich Hospice in Eastern Heights for palliative care.

During that time, Indiana treasured every moment the two of them could spend together, all the while displaying extreme bravery.

Rebecca Tanusoki, who died of bowel cancer on August 6.
Rebecca Tanusoki, who died of bowel cancer on August 6. Contributed

Speaking courageously to the Ipswich Advertiser, Indiana spoke about how much her mum meant to her.

"She was a very good mum,” Indiana said.

"We used to have mum and daughter days, which I will miss.”

Indiana has a locket she was given as a present from her mum, which has a picture of each of them inside.

It will forever be worn around her neck, ensuring her mum is always close to her heart.

But while Indiana was grieving, she was also thinking of others.

Understanding and appreciating how much the staff at Ipswich Hospice did for her mother, Indiana decided to return the favour.

She recently raised more than $1000 at a family barbecue which she donated to the centre.

"Each sausage was $3. Some people gave me money and didn't even want their change back,” Indiana said.

At her mother's funeral, Indiana made a sign asking people for donations, which was also highly successful in raising more funds.

Indiana's compassion, generosity and willingness to honour her mother's memory inspired her younger cousin Mia Tanusoki, aged six, to also donate money for the hospice.

"Instead of getting presents for my birthday, I asked for money instead,” Mia said.

Mia proudly raised more than $220, which also included pocket money she had saved.

The two brave young girls went back to the Ipswich Hospice where they met with general manager Paul Brew to hand over their sandwich bags of money.


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