Friends rally for ‘gentle giant’ killed in ute explosion
BRANDON Steffensen loved his family.
The big brother would be the one to spoil his 11-year-old and 14-year-old siblings by offering them chocolate, but then swearing them to secrecy.
The 22-year-old was also "incredibly close" to his mother, who told friends she had "lost everything" after her firstborn died when the ute he was sitting in exploded on August 20 at Edmonton.
Now, friends have rallied around the family to try to raise money to cover Mr Steffensen's funeral costs. An online crowd-funding campaign through GoFundMe had already raised more than $4000.
Sarah Magee was not related to Mr Steffensen by blood but had known the "gentle giant" since he was five and considered him her nephew.
She and friend Bernadette Young hope to offer any support they can to the family.
"I'm doing what I can. I'm actually in Brisbane but I'm coming up to Cairns next week," Ms Magee said.
"They've lost everything - their son and their business. Brandon's mum works part-time so the family has lost a source of income, that's why we're trying to get some financial help for them."
Mr Steffensen was helping his stepfather out at his business, AAA Cairns Garden and Maintenance Service, when the tragedy struck on Tuesday afternoon last week.
Ms Magee said the business owner was "processing" the fatal event.
"He's OK. He's processing it. It's just such a shock. It was so unexpected," she said.
"It's beautiful to see the community come together and support the family, it takes such a load off them. It's such a hard time. They've got two small children and they need to look after themselves."
Mr Steffensen was the Big Brother "who did everything" for his siblings.
"He'd be the one to say, 'here, have some chocolate, but don't tell mum'.
"He was our gentle giant. He would do anything for anybody. He was extremely close to his mum. He was a typical 22-year-old who loved being with his family. He was just helping his stepdad out, helping where he could."
The family plans to hold Mr Steffensen's funeral when police conclude their investigations.