Cancer awareness hits close to home for the Niue Health team as they and Niue mourn the shocking loss of Colleen ‘Figo’ Kulatea Ioane to the disease.

Over the weekend a private charter of the Air Ambulance arrived at 3pm with four passengers including Mrs Coleen Misa Kulatea Ioane known to all in Niue as Figo. On the flight was her husband Charles Ioane, Figo’s older sister Sue and their mother Lofa Misa Kulatea.

It’s understood Figo was recently diagnosed in New Zealand with terminal cancer several weeks ago. The news shocked the small population of fewer than two thousand people on the island.

According to sources close to her family, it was her final wish to return home which was made possible last Saturday afternoon.

Hundreds of people were at the airport to see the flight’s arrival and then lined up at the roadside from the airport to the Kulatea-Ioane residence at Fuselie, Alofi South. Banners and messages of love and support were held up by families and friends and her co-workers from the Niue Health Department to welcome Figo home.

Emotional scenes from the airport with the hundreds of people waving as the ambulance drove past were shared live on social media drawing many emotional comments from abroad.

Sadly, a couple of hours after reaching their home, Mrs Kulatea-Ioane passed away peacefully in their home surrounded by her husband Charles, her mother Lofa, and her close family. She was forty-seven years old.

Hundreds of tributes are flowing in on social media as the shocking news of her passing reached families and friends around the world. Many of those tributes remember a passionate health and fitness advocate, a netball coach and player, a devoted member of the Niue Golf and Sports Club, and is most remembered for her friendly personality when people visit the Niuefoour hospital.

Figo was the Niuefoou hospital Manager and amongst other duties is responsible for organising the medical referrals of Niueans to New Zealand.

On Sunday morning she was transported to the morgue while her family remain in managed isolation quarantine for two weeks. Under the provisions of the Niue Public Health Act, the government allowed the family to be quarantined at their home, in situations where one of the passengers is in palliative care.

BCN news extends heartfelt condolences to her husband Charles, her parents Lofa and Misa Kulatea, and the wider families and friends on this tragic loss. Rest in loving peace Figo, you will be sorely missed.

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