Father of three dies of cancer

By Georgina Harris

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GIVING: Dion Werahiko died on Friday night after a battle with cancer. Fundraisers at Flip Out Rotorua and Givealittle will go towards helping his partner Rachel, and children. PHOTO/STEPHEN PARKER
GIVING: Dion Werahiko died on Friday night after a battle with cancer. Fundraisers at Flip Out Rotorua and Givealittle will go towards helping his partner Rachel, and children. PHOTO/STEPHEN PARKER

After being given two months to live by his doctors, 34-year-old Dion Werahiko died on Friday night.

The father of three previously fought a two-year battle against an aggressive form of acute myeloid leukemia, with the cancer returning only six weeks ago.

Spokesperson for the family, Dion's cousin Emanuel Werahiko, said they really appreciated the community's support through this hard time.

A fundraising event went ahead last night at Flip Out Rotorua to raise funds for Dion's partner Rachel, and his three children.

The fundraiser was originally set up to help the family though Dion's illness.

Emanuel said the outpouring of support from the Rotorua community was an indication of his cousin's nature.

'People that talked to him, they'd leave and have a huge grin on their face because of who he was and his whole personality."

Emanuel said the family were grateful to those attending the fundraiser.

"Just the fact that they've come out to do this sort of thing. It makes it feel like we're giving something back to him as that's what he was all about.

"He pretty much gave everything he had, if he could, for anyone. It didn't matter what sort of circumstances, he just wanted to give."

Despite his illness Dion had tried to find out the people who were donating to the Givealittle page, set up to help him and his family, "so that he could mow their lawns and stuff like that".

"It was never about him, he was always thinking of other people."

Emanuel said the Givealittle page would be open until the end of August to continue support for Rachel and the family.

"It's a big help to Rach.

"Rachel has been solid thorughout this whole situation. I've got total love for what she's done, stood by my cousin throughout all this."

Stephen Thompson and Renae Baker, owners of Flip Out Rotorua, said they heard about Dion's ilness through community connections.

They decided to continue the last night's fundraiser despite Dion's death with donations going to Rachel, and Dion's children. A message was posted on their Facebook page.

Renae Baker said they wanted to help with fundraising.

"Dion didn't want the focus to be on him. He wanted us to spread awareness of the importance of getting Maori and Pacific Islanders to donate blood and bone marrow. It's not painful. It only takes 15 minutes of your time and could potentially save someone's life ", Ms Baker said.

Mr Thompson said a lot of people had come in throughout Sunday and given donations.

Dion's funeral will be held on Tuesday 11am at Mangahoanga (Mataarae) Marae in Reporoa.

For donations to the Givealittle page go to
https://www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/help4racheldionsabastian.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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