“I am the youngest of 10 children and in 2009, I lost someone very close to my heart to suicide. My sister, 18, and only 2 months away from becoming a nationally-recognised netball player for the Silver Ferns, took her own life suddenly and very silently behind closed doors.
My culture (Tongan), to say the least, does not acknowledge suicide as an acceptable way to pass-over. Unfortunately, my family were frowned upon in our local community as a result. I am taking a stand against this and standing up for those who cannot speak about this. Suicide touches families in ways those who have never been affected will never understand. Today, at the age of 24, I firmly believe prevention is where it starts and, had I known that years ago, I believe my sister would be here today.
I've followed SPA for the last 3-4 years, and one thing I take everywhere with me is this tiny particular message which I've found on the bottom of SPA emails: ‘Suicide Prevention Australia remembers those we have lost to suicide and acknowledges the suffering suicide brings when it touches our lives. We are brought together by experience and are unified by hope.’ To be able to represent such an amazing charity, which touched my heart with two simple sentences, means more to me than anyone could imagine.
This year, my beloved sister would have been celebrating her 26th birthday on October 22nd, six days after the Melbourne Marathon. If raising funds for SPA meant that I could potentially aid and prevent another sister's life from being silently taken away, I would fundraise for SPA each and every single chance I have.
This is not the first time I've run the Melbourne Marathon. Each year all seven of my sisters fly from New Zealand to Australia for this special occasion in remembrance for my sister. This year, I will be running the marathon alone for the first time and decided to make this special year count and my fundraising experience has been overwhelming. Very overwhelming. I have no words to describe how grateful I am to see the response I've received thus far.
The highlight of my experience is seeing the responses from those who have donated and those who are interested in knowing more about SPA.
My advice to other supporters is that prevention is key. If we could prevent a single life from being taken or perhaps heal families who have been touched by suicide, I'd imagine this would be a colossal achievement for anyone.
I intend to make this Suicide Prevention Australia the only organisation I fundraise for, and I’ll be more than happy to have my sisters jump on board for the next marathon.”
If you'd like to show your support for Liv, you can donate here, or visit our website - https://www.suicidepreventionaust.org/sporting-and-challenge-events to find a sporting challenge in your community. For further information regarding opportunities for involvement, please contact our Community Relations Coordinator, Gay Black - firstname.lastname@example.org.