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After a Single Mom Loses Her Cancer Battle, Her Bestie Steps in to Raise Her 6 Kids

Stephanie Culley's new family/Facebook

Beth Laitkep and her kids/GoFundMe

The Short of It

When a single mom of six found out she was dying of breast cancer, her best friend offered to step in and raise her kids.

The Lowdown

Beth Laitkep was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014 while she was pregnant with her sixth child, Ace. After the little guy was born, Laitkep started chemo and appeared to be improving. But then last year, her cancer came back.

It was around that time that the single mom of six started spending more time with her best friend from high school, Stephanie Culley.

"I felt this pull to reconnect with her," Culley told Cosmopolitan. "This pull that I could not stop."

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Then the cancer spread to Laitkep's bones, brain and spine. "The doctor told me that there was nothing that could be done," Culley said. "That's when we started talking about the kids."

According to Culley, the father of Laitkep's older kids isn't in the picture, and the dad of her younger children split while Laitkep was battling cancer. So, Laitkep asked her bestie to take the kids and look after them.

Culley told her she'd "do it in a heartbeat." They took the kids down to the hospital to talk about it. "We said, 'If you do not get a miracle for mommy, who do you want?'" Culley told The Washington Post. "They all pointed to me. That melted my heart. ... We all decided that was what we needed to do—take all of them and keep them all together as our family."

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The Upshot

What a beautiful story! Have you ever thought about who you'd want to raise your kids if something were to happen? I have, and my best friend from high school has always been at the top of my list.

Sadly, Laitkep lost her battle in May at just 39 years old. Now, Culley and her husband Donnie have temporary custody of the six kids and are working to get permanent custody, with a possible adoption down the road.

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The family has set up a GoFundMe page. "I want to thank every one of you that has shown your love and supported Beth and her family during this time," Culley writes. "As for the future, we're going to take one day at a time, keeping her memory alive and making new ones together as a family."

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