A woman from Saskatoon, Canada, has honored her deceased sister’s last wish by taking all six of her children into her home.
Cheryl Kay had suffered multiple seizures, caused by low electrolyte levels in her body, just before Christmas.
She was admitted into the Regina Hospital where her condition deteriorated. She then asked Smith to care for her six kids should the worst come to pass.
Eventually, Kay fell into a coma and was placed on life support. She sadly did not recover, and on Christmas Eve, she breathed her last at the age of 36.
After her sister’s untimely death, Smith and her husband, Tim, took the kids into their home to join their 5 biological children for a total of 11 dependents. Kay’s last-born was left with her surviving husband to care for.
“The first priority was to let the kids know they are loved, and that they have a home,” said Smith, the station reported.
After the children were settled in, she rallied family and friends, and together they bought Christmas gifts for the kids.
An online fundraising campaign was set up to cover Kay’s funeral costs and help support the kids—particularly in purchasing laptop computers for their school work—and managed to raise over $33,000.
Due to the large number of children, the family can no longer live comfortably in their rental home, and purchasing a bigger house is now a top priority.
Growing up, Smith’s own mother had died when she was 13, and so she knows what hardship growing up in the system can be.
“I didn’t think twice. Being the way I grew up, I was a ward of the government since I was 13 years old. I grew up in residential schools, group homes, foster homes,” she said.
“I just couldn’t let this happen to the children. They have been through so much already.”
Smith said that with so many people rallying behind her family, in the wake of Kay’s death, she feels her sister’s spirit is strong.
Smith has since applied for permanent guardianship over the kids.