Super League side Widnes Vikings have created a crowdfunding page to try and raise £5,000 for the family of Kato Ottio following the player’s sudden death earlier this week.
At the time of writing, that target was well on the way to being reached, with the rugby league community typically showing overwhelming support in someone’s hour of need.
Ottio was due to arrive in the UK to begin pre-season training with Widnes this week, but he tragically passed away on Monday after what the club described as a ‘sudden health issue’.
The Vikings said in a statement on Tuesday that they have made a private donation to Ottio’s family, but they have also created an avenue for those supporters wishing to donate to play their part and support the PNG star’s close ones.
They will also use Friday’s friendly versus Whitehaven to raise money. They said: “As a club, Widnes Vikings have committed to making a private donation to Kato’s family to support them at this difficult time.
“We recognise that many supporters and club partners will also want to support this cause, so we have established a crowd funding page. Every penny raised through this platform will be donated to his loved ones. Our sincere thanks are given to everyone who backs this cause.
“On Friday, Widnes Vikings are scheduled to face Whitehaven in a pre-season friendly. At this fixture, there will be bucket collections in both the South Stand and Pat Price Stand. To ensure that as much money as possible can be donated to this collection, there will be no rise in ticket prices ahead of the game, with tickets remaining at their current discounted advance-priced rates. We hope that this gesture supports attendees to be able to give generously to the collection.
“Kato’s life will be celebrated at this game with a minute’s silence, the first of a series of tributes that we are planning for our teammate. Widnes Vikings would like to thank everyone who supports these efforts, and to again offer our sincere condolences to his family, friends and former colleagues.”