Friends step in to help orphans of tragic cancer parents

Karen Nicholson Stewart and Ed Stewart, who died from cancer within weeks of each other
Karen Nicholson Stewart and Ed Stewart, who died from cancer within weeks of each other

Friends of a husband and wife who died from cancer within weeks of each other are driving an online funding campaign to help secure the future of their three young children.

Karen Nicholson Stewart died just over a week ago at the age of 36 after a long battle with the disease.

That was two months after her childhood sweetheart Ed, 42, lost his fight with pancreatic cancer. Mr Stewart was only diagnosed with the condition in May.

Family are now taking care of the Dublin couple’s three children – Erin, four, Finn, eight and Kieve, 10.

The couple’s friends Stacey Hogg and Maureen Osayi had already set up a gofundme page when carer Karen, from Darndale, and Donaghmede bus driver Ed were dealing with their terminal diagnoses.

The aim was to help the couple create memories with their children before they died. It raised in excess of €45,000, but the rapid decline of their conditions meant they had no real time to benefit from it.

Their friends have now pledged to keep the fundraising efforts going to generate a trust fund for the children.

Mrs Osayi said she gave Karen a promise to look out for them.

“I spoke to Karen in September, I said ‘this gofundme page is still active, do you want me to keep it going for the children?’” she said.

“She said ‘please do, they are going to need schooling, going to need an education’.

“I said ‘I’m making you a promise that for as long as I live I will watch over those kids’.”

Mrs Osayi praised how Ed and Karen’s families have rallied round the three children.

“The emotional support is massive, you have never seen a community like this,” she said.

“Karen’s family and Ed’s are absolutely unreal – they are dedicated to protect those children.

“It’s unreal when you see them together, for two families to be that united. These people are absolutely amazing.”

For more information or to donate log onto https://www.gofundme.com/karenandedsmemories