Cancer Kills Couple Five Days Apart; Thousands Donate More Than $200K to Help Children

(Photo: Family handout)The late Julie and Mike Bennet on their deathbed and with their children (inset) during happier times. They were diagnosed with terminal cancer three years apart.

Thousands of people banded together to donate more than $200,000 to help support the three children of a loving mother and father who died five days apart from terminal cancer. And as of Monday afternoon, donations were still pouring in.

Julie Bennet, 50, who was pictured holding her dying husband's hand five days earlier, died just before midnight on Saturday, according to the Daily Mail, leaving their three children Luke, 21, Hannah, 18, and Oliver, 13.

The Mail reported that Mike Bennet, 57, a self-employed cabinet maker in the U.K., learned that he had a brain tumor in 2013 and was being cared for by his wife.

In May 2016, however, Julie, a teacher at Somerville School in Wallasey, was diagnosed with liver and kidney cancer which had spread to other organs in her body.

Friends who promised the dying mom to help care for her children set up a JustGiving page for the children and the campaign has gone viral.

"I can't imagine what these three children are going through but hope this donation can help in any tiny way. Your parents would be bursting with pride," wrote Karen Wigfield as she made her donation.

"My most heartfelt condolences. I lost both of my parents to cancer as well and I understand your pain. Sending you all love, strength, and support from Washington, DC," wrote Jillie Klarman.

In a statement to The Guardian, Luke Bennet thanked donors for their generosity during their time of bereavement.

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

"Mum 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," he said.

Family friend Heather Heaton Gallagher told The Guardian that the couple were "supportive parents."

"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," she said.

"The biggest challenge is that the family car, a Motorbility car has to be returned, meaning that the kids can't get around to manage practical and personal activities. Julie and Mike have been the most supportive parents, encouraging their children's interest in dance and acting from a very early age," she explained.

"All three children thrive on the stage and I know that Julie and Mike would not want this to stop their children from dancing and performing. To help them do this, we need to make them mobile again and help cover the costs that this brings," she added.

The fundraising page which was set up only six days ago, raised more than £15,000 (over $18,000) in the first 24 hours, according to The Guardian.

"I told her the community would come together to help look after her kids – and she opened her eyes and smiled," Sue Wright, another family friend said of Julie.

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