An Irish couple with three young children received a pair of devastating diagnoses — each parent has terminal cancer, and each has just a few months to live.
Ed and Karen Stewart were each diagnosed with a different form of terminal cancer within weeks of each other, prompting friends and family to start a campaign to care for their three young children after they are gone.
The story made international headlines this week after being featured in the U.K.’s Sun newspaper. The Stewarts live in Dublin, Ireland, with their three children — 10-year-old Keeva, 8-year-old Finn, and 4-year-old Erin. The 36-year-old Karen Stewart had actually already survived a bout with neuroblastoma when she was 20 years old, but it returned earlier this year. A few months after Karen was diagnosed, doctors told Ed Stewart that he had terminal pancreatic cancer.
To help the couple, some friends started a GoFundMe campaign to provide for their children and allow them to make the most of their remaining days. Since the media coverage of the parents’ devastating diagnoses, the fundraiser has attracted attention across the globe. It has already raised more than $30,000 and generated supportive comments from donors — most of them strangers to the Stewart family — who have gone through similar trials on their own lives.
“My spouse passed away from pancreatic cancer,” one donor wrote. “The memories we made keep me strong to this day. God bless your family with love, peace and happiness. Stay strong together!”
The attention from the Sun newspaper and a pickup from the New York Post also drew a flurry of donations to the family. By Friday evening, when the story about the Stewart family was one of the top three on the New York Post‘s website, the donations were coming in at a rate of thousands of dollars each hour.
Those who set up the fundraiser wrote a message on Friday thanking people for the outpouring of love and support, noting that Ed and Karen were “astounded” to see the reaction people had and the support shown for their family.
The Stewart family is also using their heartbreaking situation as a way to help others who could find themselves in that situation. Keeva, the couple’s oldest child, spoke to a local magazine and implored people to go to a doctor to be checked out as soon as they find a lump or anything unusual.
[Featured Image by Ridofranz/iStock]