Three siblings were left devastated when they lost both their parents to cancer within days of each other. But just when the family thought there was no hope left, their community rallied around them in a big way, leaving them completely stunned by the generosity of loved ones, neighbors and strangers.
The tragedy began in 2013 when the father, 57-year-old Mike Bennet, was diagnosed with a brain tumor, reports the Daily Mail. As his condition worsened over the years, his wife, 50-year-old Julie, and their children, 21-year-old Luke, 18-year-old Hannah and 13-year-old Oliver, cared for him, preparing for the worst. But they had no idea that liver and kidney cancer was eating away at Julie's body all the while.
Julie fell ill in April 2016 and received the devastating diagnosis the following month. Her greatest concern while suffering from the disease, family and friends said, was that her children would not be taken care of.
The kids shared a heartbreaking photo in January of the terminally ill couple holding hands on their deathbeds:
Hours after the picture was taken, Mike passed away, followed by Julie only days later.
After Mike and Julie passed, a JustGiving crowdfunding page raised more than $241,400 -- and counting -- as of Feb. 13 for the three siblings, allowing them to continue living in their family's home in Merseyside, England. The initial goal was $62,640.
"My brother, sister and I are overwhelmed by the enormous support and generosity we have received from so many friends and well-wishers," Luke said in a statement to the Daily Mail. "[Our mother] has appreciated all the help from close friends in supporting the family over the last three years through difficult times and it would be a huge relief to her to know this support will continue."
The kids, all three of whom are performers, will now be able to continue with their theater and dance classes. A local charity has also stepped in to help offset funeral costs.
"The Bennets are known to all for their generosity, their love for life, and their down-to-earth approach," said Heather Heaton Gallagher, a friend of the family. "Facing a double terminal cancer diagnosis is beyond belief and as a community we are working hard to support the family so that they can stay together and ensure that they can continue their education as planned."