After losing both parents to cancer within days of each other, a group of siblings are thanking strangers around the world for their support.
The Bennett family’s heartbreaking story went viral when 21-year-old Luke, 18-year-old Hannah and 13-year-old Oliver, released a heartbreaking photo of their parents online.
The photo showed parents Mike and Julie Bennett holding hands at a hospital in Wirral, England during their final moments together.
Mike, 57, was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2013. Then in May, doctors diagnosed Julie with liver and kidney cancer.
Mike passed away on February 6 and Julie died just five days later on February 11. Luke, Hannah and Oliver were suddenly orphaned.
“Everything happened so quickly,” Luke told The Times. “Dad was bedbound and not really able to do anything and the Mom went into hospital. They were both in the hospice and Dad just went the night they got there. Obviously we cried but there was not time to dwell on it because the priority was to be strong around Mom.”
Strangers around the world donated to a JustGiving campaign, raising £276,820, equal to more than $338,000, to help the siblings.
“Initially it was people we knew directly and then it was people from all around the world just being so generous,” Luke said. “It is absolutely amazing. We are so grateful.”
The siblings say the money is helping Luke and Hannah continue their full-time education and is helping them care for Oliver.
They say adjusting to a new life without their parents has brought them all closer.
The Times printed the touching words Luke used to remember his parents at their joint funeral last month.
“As we all prepare to move on with out lives, we know that they will always remain with us in our hearts, forever there to encourage us to eat our vegetables, climb on top of dangerous piles of rubble, and follow our dreams. For them, we always will.”