Cape Coral family seeks help after father and husband dies

Reporter: Breana Ross Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:

What was expected to be a joyous time for a Southwest Florida family turned into tragedy when their father died unexpectedly. Community members are stepping up to help during the family’s time of need in the wake of a tragedy.

The Gregg-Donaldson family in Cape Coral was looking forward to a new addition to their family of eight recently this holiday season.

With four adopted children and two biological children, they were excited to have another one on the way.

“We got to the countdown where we had our date. We had it in the schedule,” mother and wife Teri Donaldson said. “We were counting it, and we were both very excited that it was happening.”

Teri spent seven weeks in the hospital before delivering baby Rowan. He was premature, but she and her husband, Oak, were happy to have their Christmas miracle. But just hours later, things took a turn for the worse.

“At like 2:30 in the morning, I sent him a text saying, ‘I love you. I know you’re not feeling well, but please call me when you wake up in the morning,’ and he didn’t.”

Oak died suddenly in his sleep that night, leaving Teri with their seven kids, a newborn baby and no way to get them all around.

“We were going to get another minivan or something small and just take two cars everywhere we went,” Teri said. “I’m not going to be able to do that now, so I need to be able to transport them all myself.”

Now, both friends and strangers are stepping up to help. They are preparing meals and organizing fundraisers to get Teri the help she needs — starting with a van big enough to transport her kids.

“In the midst of tragedy, people need to know that this doesn’t have to end tragically,” supporter Rachel Anderson said. “That we can support this family and show them love at Christmas time.”

Community members are organizing fundraisers to help get the Gregg-Donaldson family a large passenger van and to help with medical and funeral expenses. Also, Teri’s mother, Patti Town Armbruster, set up a GoFundMe under the name “Rowan & Family.”

All branches of First Horizon Bank of Cape Coral will also be accepting donations in the form of checks made out to Teri Gregg-Donaldson to provide help in the family’s time of need.

“He loved being a part of this community,” Teri said. “And I know he will love and appreciate the support that’s coming back to us”

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