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Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Nick Eade Fundraising Page: The Story Behind It

There is one story that has dominated this blog all month, with the most pageviews and shares... the sad story of Nick Eade.

I followed the story the second I saw that interview on the 'Today' show, where Nick's wife Trish Hegarty was interviewed by Lisa Wilkinson.

Trish's tear-filled pleas to her husband Nick to return home or make contact stopped me dead in my tracks… it was so angst-filled and her voice stirred something in me. It was such a desperate call-out, it kinda broke my heart there and then. Trish holding their young child Ruby, and the child looking at mummy and perhaps wondering what was going on also connected me very much to the story.

I, like everyone else with a heart, hoped and prayed Nick would be found, and soon.

And so, I blogged. It was the only thing they needed at the time… for the word to get out, and fast. This blog post has reached thousands of people.

In devastating news late December, a body was found and was confirmed to be Nick's in early January.

On the Facebook page set up to find Nick, a friend of the family put the call out… let's all donate even one dollar each to the fund set up to help Trish with the expenses of laying someone to rest, and perhaps some funds for the ongoing care of their child. That's the thing about grief. It's not like you can just pick up where you left off and go back to work, especially when you have a young child. It's blindsiding and debilitating and... intense.

Many, many comments on the Facebook page and donation site were what you would expect from humanity: heartfelt replies and shared tears, especially from empathic strangers who no doubt thought: "there but by the of grace of God go I."

And then. You get them everywhere, don't you? People questioning the validity of anything, and being utterly rude in the process. Sure, raise a concern, give the person a chance to respond, but don't attack when people are at their most vulnerable. How do you think you'd feel on the receiving end? At times like this it's worth taking a deep breath and remembering that those left behind need only hit Google to see negative comments. Not cool.

For the record - and I have been in touch with the creator of the fundraising page Jody Vassallo - this page is legitimate and people from all walks of life (several renowned personalities in the Australian food media industry, seeing as Trish is a food stylist and Nick worked in television) have donated.

And if you want to, you can too. Here is the link:


It was actually a friend of Jody's who alerted me to this page and suggested I should perhaps get in touch with Jody and spread the word about the page, in order to help Trish and Ruby, and so that Trish may draw comfort from the beautiful messages left on the page.

And suddenly... I reverted back to my 13 year old self, when my father died suddenly and mum was left to raise my brothers and I.

And I start to vividly recall my father's dear friends starting an impromptu, very Italian old school campaign to quite literally pass the hat around to collect some money for the funeral.

I recall being simultaneously puzzled, touched, slighty embarrased... but overwhelmingly... deeply moved. Those gorgeous, hardened Italian men opened their battered leather wallets and pulled out a fifty. And more.

This fundraising effort for Nick Eade is the modern day version of that - today, people set up an online place to pledge. Back then... it was a hat. And for us, money then placed in a wicker bread basket on the table, there in that room where we all mourned, as is the Italian tradition called the "lutto".

It's a depressing, very upsetting time and I recall sitting around with all the relatives and friends reciting the rosary in Italian, and then mum and I would pray some more when everyone went home. Mum taught me lots of prayers and Italian proverbs back then, when we thought our world have caved in (and in many ways, it had) which I can still recite today.

More than anything, she taught me incredible resilience and a forthright, practical, very real approach to life. Which I now apply to life in my role as her carer.

Life is full circle like that. One of the biggest lessons my mother taught me is to never kick somebody when they are down. It is your job not to ignore, instead do your darndest to help, in whatever way you can.

Rest in peace, Nick Eade.

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