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Theft extinguishes Ryan’s light

Donna Harper’s lamp in memory of her son Ryan Crook has been stolen. PHOTO/EMILY IRELAND

Emily Ireland

When 18-year-old Ryan Crook took his own life last year, his mum Donna Harper turned a lamp on outside his bedroom window.

It was Donna’s way of letting her son know where home was, and it was also a way of letting friends and family know that, if they needed to talk, “the light is always on” at her house.

It is also reminiscent of Ryan’s funeral song, Leave a Light On.

Just over a week ago, this lamp, which had been running non-stop since Ryan’s funeral, was stolen from Donna’s front porch.

Though little hope remains for its return, Donna hopes that whoever has taken it can understand the impact the theft has had on her grieving process.

“As soon as I knew it had gone, I had a panic attack about it.

“You wouldn’t think something as simple as a lamp would have such a big impact, but the point is, I wasn’t going to turn it off until it was the anniversary – and even then, I wasn’t sure I was going to do it because it has become ingrained in our lives.

“It means lot, and someone has gone and taken that away.”

The first anniversary of Ryan’s death isn’t until July 22.

“To some people, the attachment may seem weird, but unless something like this has happened to you, you don’t know how important the little things are in your life.

“I wasn’t ready for anybody to turn that light off – that was for me to do.

“And someone has come and taken that away.

“I just feel like it’s just one more thing that has been taken away from me.”

The table lamp has a brass base and a denim shade.

Donna said the only reason she could think of that the lamp was stolen was because it was brass.

“The ultimate thing is, I really want whoever stole this to know that something that is $5 or $10 to them is somebody’s piece of their heart – and you can’t put a price on that – especially when that piece of heart belongs to somebody else.

“I want them to just look into themselves.

“What if that was a lamp for your brother or your mum or dad and someone took it away?

“I just want it back, you know.”

Where to get help

Lifeline: 0800 543 354

Kidsline: 0800 543 754 54 (0800 KIDSLINE) supporting under 18 yrs

Youthline: 0800 376 633, free text 234

Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (supports 5 – 18-yr-olds, 1pm-11pm)

Women’s Refuge Crisis Line: 0800 733 843

Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757

Samaritans: 0800 726 666

Healthline: 0800 611 116

Outline NZ: 0800 688 5463 (0800 OUTLINE) sexuality and gender identity issues


  1. I hope you get it back my sister live and miss our ryan plz who ever took it bring it back

  2. This is so sad. I d hope whoever took it has a change of heart, and a big heart at that and returns it.

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