Toni Street unveils new book ‘Lost and Found: My story of heartbreak and hope’

This story originally appeared on The Coast, and has been republished with permission

Toni Street’s easy on-air style, warm personality and smiles might make one think she has a perfect life, but behind the bubbly persona is a story of heartbreak and resilience.

It’s a story Toni has decided to write about in her book, Lost and Found: My story of heartbreak and hope.

Taking to Instagram to announce the exciting news, Toni said: “Writing a book was honestly never on my radar, but a couple of years ago I was asked to talk about my experience with surrogacy and I thought it was something that could be really useful (there was only one Kiwi story for us to use as reference when we had Lachie).

“I quickly realised that writing about our surrogacy journey in isolation was impossible – it had to include why we needed to use a surrogate (my auto-immune disease, and ongoing battle to keep good health), and why we were so motivated to have a big family (the death of my three siblings).”

She continued: “My mum Wendy encouraged me to talk about our family’s grief as she thought it would be cathartic for me, and I hope it has been for Mum and Dad too. They have opened up about their harrowing experience of losing three children. Many things they shared with me I didn’t know before.

“And with the blessing and help of @sophie_braggins we’ve gone into detail about the surrogacy process, and the emotional rollercoaster that goes with it.”

A post shared by Toni Street (@tonimstreet)

Her story

Toni and her twin brother Lance were the much-loved first children of Taranaki dairy farmers Geoff and Wendy Street. At 9 months old, Lance was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia, passing away a year later. Devastated but determined to give Toni another sibling, Wendy became pregnant soon after Lance’s death, but after a difficult pregnancy, their baby Tracy was born, but only lived for a couple of hours.

Trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life, Wendy became pregnant again, and the Streets were overjoyed and relieved to welcome a healthy boy, Stephen. Life returned to some kind of normality, and two years after Stephen was born, Wendy gave birth to another baby, Kirsty. But then, when Stephen was 14, the unthinkable happened. While out on the farm with his dad, Stephen was killed in a quad bike accident. His death would become the seismic marker of Toni’s life, as she vowed to do everything in her power to bring happiness to her parents’ life.

Toni was determined to raise her own large family, with her husband Matt. But after giving birth to their second child, she became seriously unwell, and was admitted to hospital, in agony. Eventually diagnosed with a rare immune disease, Churg-Strauss syndrome, she had her gall bladder removed, and is on permanent medication.

As a result, she and Matt found that she was unable to carry another child. Desperate for the large family that her parents missed out on, Toni’s dream for a third child was realised by her best friend, who offered to be her and Matt’s surrogate.

Toni and her family’s story is one of almost unbelievable trial and tragedy but also love, determination and incredible resilience.

Lost and Found covers Toni’s TV and radio career highs and lows and will strike a chord
with anyone who has gone through difficult times.

• Lost and Found: My story of heartbreak and hope goes on sale in October.

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