When Beth Laitkep developed triple negative breast cancer, she was determined to beat it. She was a single mom and with six kids who needed her. But unfortunatley, Laitkep died two years after her diagnosis at the age of 39. Oftentimes, siblings who become orphans are split up when their parents or guardians die. Laitkep’s kids were spared that fate when Stephanie Culley stepped in.
Culley and her husband agreed to take in Laitkep’s six kids: Will, 15; Selena, 14; Jaxon, 11; Dallas, 10; Lily,5; and Ace, 2. “God had a plan. I always wondered why I built my house this big,” said Culley in an update on her Go Fund Me page. The mom of three was the person there for Laitkep throughout her battle with cancer.
When doctors told Laitkep that there was nothing they could do, Laitkep and Culley made arrangements for Culley to take the kids. Laitkep died knowing that Culley would take good care of her kids and keep them together as a family.
Culley said watching Laitkep die was difficult. “It felt like I was in slow motion,” she said. “It was heartbreaking.” Culley and Laitkep had been really good friends in high school, and when they became adults the pair rekindled their friendship.
Though she and her husband now have to take care of nine kids, Culley said she wouldn’t have it any other way. “They are exceptional kids. You can’t help fall in love with them,” she said about the newest members of the family. “That day was the first day of our new life. I feel like our life is complete now. Those six kids were the six links we were missing from our lives.”
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