Survivor star grateful for final phone call before mum died

Lee Carseldine would do anything to get five minutes to say a proper goodbye to his mum after tragically withdrawing from reality show Australian Survivor when his mother had a stroke.

But the Survivor contestant is grateful for the small comfort that his last phone call before entering the reality competition was to tell his mum, Elizabeth, how much he loved her.

"A sudden loss is harder to take sometimes," the 44-year-old former professional cricketer told Confidential.

"If someone is sick for a while, you might have that time to say goodbye and spend time with them before they go. This was so sudden, she was gone within an hour of the stroke happening."

Lee Carseldine leaves the show. Picture: Nigel Wright
Lee Carseldine leaves the show. Picture: Nigel Wright

Survivor Australia was shot at the end of last year with Carseldine withdrawing from the competition, which is shot on a Fijian island immediately after getting the call from producers.

His mother died at the end of September and Carseldine flew home to be with family.

The episode played out on Monday night with much emotion and many tears from his fellow camp mates.

"I was doing Survivor for her and my dad," he said. "Of course you carry a little bit of guilt, being so far from home but it didn't really matter where I was, I would never have been able to get to her in time to say goodbye anyway."

Lee Carseldine during the show. Picture: Nigel Wright.
Lee Carseldine during the show. Picture: Nigel Wright.

Of that last phone call, some 40 days before her death, Carseldine recalled: "I just told her that I loved her, just like I did every other day that I spoke to her. We always told each other that we loved each other, it was something we do as a family."

Carseldine's parents were married for 51 years.

Survivor Australia was shot at the end of last year with Carseldine withdrawing immediately after getting the call from producers. Picture: Nigel Wright
Survivor Australia was shot at the end of last year with Carseldine withdrawing immediately after getting the call from producers. Picture: Nigel Wright

He is hoping sharing his story to raise awareness and funds for The Stroke Foundation in a bid to "turn something really tragic into something positive".

"She was otherwise in good health," he said. "It is one of those things, a tragic set of circumstances."

It was fan favourite Carseldine's second stint on the reality show after he originally competed in the 2015 season.


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