When time is not guaranteed, what would you do for your loved one in their final months?
For Krysta Bennett, she and her family are using their last months with her husband, Craig Bennett, who recently stopped receiving chemotherapy and is entering hospice care, to complete his last bucket list item by painting his car.
One of Craig’s last wishes is to pass the car on to his 11-year-old daughter.
Almost five years ago, Craig was diagnosed with stage 4 appendix and colon cancer, after almost a month of trying to identify his diagnosis. Each year, less than 1,500 people in the United States are affected by appendix cancer, according to University of Chicago Medicine.
Krysta and Craig have two children together, one from a previous marriage, and have a house in Castaic. When Krysta was 21, her first husband died in a bike accident.
“Craig and I grew up on the same street, went to Sierra Vista Junior High and Canyon High School and even worked at Six Flags (Magic Mountain) at the same time, but we did not meet until after my first husband died,” said Bennett. “I met him when I was pregnant with my first husband’s son.”
Over the last four and a half years, Krysta and Craig have received a wave of support from the community. Originally, Craig’s bucket list was longer, but as the cancer grew his list was reduced to two items: Go to Disneyland with his family and have his Mazda Miata painted.
“We made it to Disneyland, so now we want to get his car fixed,” said Bennett. “Our daughter, who will be inheriting the car, loves art and Craig loves cars, so the painting aspect of the car is where they’ve been connecting.”
Krysta has reached out to the community seeking a local body shop or car-painting service to help complete his last item on his bucket list. Craig is also celebrating his 40th birthday on Dec. 15, and Krysta hopes to have it completed by then.
In addition, Krysta has set up a GoFundMe account that has collected almost $5,000. As a family, they are “Jurassic Park” fans and have even remodeled their jeep to resemble one from the movies. Krysta also has an Etsy shop, TheCreativeKatt, where she sells stickers, such as “Make Cancer Extinct,” that go toward Craig’s cancer fund.
“When I realized he wasn’t going to be able to finish the car himself, I stepped in and reached out to help fulfill his dream,” Krysta said.
After receiving 104 chemotherapy treatments, two major surgeries and countless minor surgeries, he hasn’t been able to work because his cancer was growing faster than he was recovering, according to Krysta Bennett.
“Santa Clarita is tight, but Castaic is even tighter — and I knew what my community was capable of doing,” said Bennett. “My kids and I are floored by the support of the community.”
If you want to follow their story, their Instagram is @jurassicparklife. The Bennetts’ GoFundMe page can be found at https://bit.ly/35C3cYX.