Kids Share Photo of Parents Before Both Died of Cancer

Crowdfunding campaign underway to aid Mike and Julie Bennet's 3 children
By Linda Hervieux,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 13, 2017 8:42 AM CST
They Died 5 Days Apart. This Is Their Final Photo
Julie and Mike Bennet in hospice care shortly before Mike Bennet died on Feb. 6.   (Bennet family)

Mike and Julie Bennet died of cancer five days apart, and an image of their final moments together is attracting attention. The British couple's three children have released a bittersweet photo of their parents holding hands from their hospital beds; it was taken shortly before Mike Bennet, 57, died last Monday, the BBC reports. Julie Bennet, 50, died on Saturday, leaving behind Luke, 21; Hannah, 18; and Oliver, 13. Family friend Heather Gallagher says the "down-to-earth" clan was "known to all for their generosity." That generosity is being returned to them: A crowdfunding campaign begun to help the kids, who are from Irby in Wirral, has raised $175,000 as of this writing.

"Julie has kept the children in a normal routine whilst dealing with Mike's illness over the past few years," says Gallagher; the cabinet maker was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2013. Then last May, Julie got a devastating diagnosis of her own. Cancer had invaded the grade school teacher's liver and kidneys, and would eventually spread to other organs, ITV reports. Friend Sue Wright tells the BBC she made Julie Bennet a bedside promise: "I told her the community would come together to help look after her kids—and she opened her eyes and smiled." Gallagher tells the BBC the kids "are astounded" by what's been contributed so far, which is 280% of the initial target. She adds that their aunts and uncles plan to look after them, and that the money will help them get through college. (These viral photos involve a 3-year-old boy.)

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