Beth Laitkep was about to lose her battle to breast cancer after doctors ran out of treatment options back in April. However, the single mom wasn’t concerned about her own life, but merely about the six children she would be leaving behind.
“She was never worried about herself. She was never worried about anything but them,” said her best friend, Stephanie Culley, in an interview with CBS This Morning. “And she looked at me and she said, ‘Can you do this for me? Can you do this?'”
Laitkep told Culley that she had nobody else to turn to, and she asked if she would take care of her children ranging from ages 2 to 15.
“I wanted her to live so much. No mother ever deserved to live and raise their kids as much as her,” said Culley. “I mean, they needed her.”
But she couldn’t ignore that her best friend’s death was inevitable.
Culley had to talk it over with her husband first—and when she told him there were six kids, his response took her breath away. After a long pause, he simply said, “We’ll do what we have to do.”
Laitkep cried in the arms of her bestie when she relayed the remarkable news to her in the hospital. She was able to pass on peacefully knowing that her babies would be in good hands.
“I told her that I would love them. I would never be able to love them like she would, but I would do the very best that I could,” Culley promised her.
Already having a daughter of their own, the Culley family literally tripled in size overnight.
Though their hallways are much louder now and the pile of dishes is three times as high, the new big Brady Bunch of a family couldn’t be happier.
“It’s been actually easier than anyone ever would expect because we all have each other and it just feels like home,” said Laitkep’s daughter Selena through tears. “She was a really good mom and I know we meant everything to her.”
“She pretty much does the same thing and loves us,” added her brother Jaxson.
Though they’re grieving, they’re just happy to have each other, knowing that mama is still looking out for them.
“She used to joke and say that ‘when one of them’s acting up and you don’t see it, I’m going to be tapping you on the shoulder,'” said Culley.
Though the nation is completely in awe over this beautiful act of sacrifice, Culley doesn’t consider herself a hero.
“I’m not a saint. I’m not an angel. I’m not a hero,” she said. “I just love these kids. To walk in the door and see all of them in the living room dancing and playing and happy, that’s what it’s all about.”
Two days ago, on July 19th, a judge awarded custody of Laitkeps’s children to the Culleys. Now, Will, 15, Selena, 14, Jaxson, 12, Dallas, 10, Lily, 5, and Ace, 2. are siblings to the the Culleys kids, Cole, 10, Hayden, 6 and Calen, 2. (Two 2-year-olds!?? WHAT!??)
“We started dancing as soon as the judge made his ruling,” Stephanie Culley of Alton, Virginia, told ABC News. “It was like winning the Super Bowl for us. It was an amazing day yesterday.”
If you would like to help support the Culleys in their brave new journey, please consider donating to their GoFundMe page set up for Beth’s children.