3 kids face los­ing both par­ents within weeks

The People - - NEWS FEATURES & - By John Kelly

FAM­ILY and friends are ral­ly­ing to sup­port three tragic chil­dren who are set to lose both their par­ents to can­cer within weeks of each other.

Julie Ben­net, 50, is dy­ing in a hospice bed. Her hus­band Mike, 57, passed away a week ago af­ter bat­tling a brain tu­mour for years.

Her con­so­la­tion is know­ing that their chil­dren Oliver, 13, Han­nah, 18, and Luke, 21, will be cared for.

Friend Sue Wright said: “I told her the com­mu­nity would come to­gether to help look af­ter her kids. She opened her eyes and smiled.”

And Heather Heaton Gal­lagher, a spokes­woman for the chil­dren, added: “Words can­not ex­press our des­per­ate sad­ness for such a beau­ti­ful fam­ily. The Ben­nets are known to all for their gen­eros­ity, their love for life and their down to earth ap­proach.

“Julie has kept the chil­dren in a nor­mal rou­tine while deal­ing with Mike’s ill­ness.

“When she got ill she made it her pur­pose to cre­ate as many mem­o­ries as a fam­ily for them to hold on to.

“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.”

Pri­mary school teacher Julie is be­ing cared for in St John’s Hospice on the Wir­ral, Mersey­side, not far from the fam­ily home in Irby.

The chil­dren re­leased a heart­break­ing photo of her last mo­ments with Mike, in which she clutches his hand just be­fore he died on Fe­bru­ary 6. Julie nursed him through­out his tu­mour or­deal only to be di­ag­nosed with can­cer of the liver and kid­neys in May last year, which has spread.

Friends have started a JustGiv­ing page, which hit £15,000 overnight.

Luke said: “My brother, sis­ter and I are over­whelmed by the enor­mous sup­port and gen­eros­ity we have re­ceived from so many friends and well-wish­ers.

“It gives my mum a great deal of com­fort to hear that we are be­ing so well looked af­ter by the com­mu­nity.

“I know it has been her pri­or­ity since be­ing di­ag­nosed to make sure the three of us can con­tinue as best we can with our stud­ies and ful­fil our am­bi­tions.

“Mum has ap­pre­ci­ated all the help from close friends in sup­port­ing the fam­ily over the last three years through dif­fi­cult times.”

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