Five children have become orphans after their father died of bowel cancer the day before the funeral for his wife who lost her battle with the same disease.Omena Ubiaro, 38, had fought the cancer for three years before he died in the early hours of this morning in a Wolverhampton hospice.
The widower, grieving for his wife Makeda Ubiaro, who died aged 38 on 29 July, focused on raising money for his five children, aged seven to 19, in the final weeks of his life.
The gofundme page has raised almost £23,000 in the last month.
Family friend, Charles Busari, posted on the page this aftenoon: ‘It breaks my heart to report that sadly our dear brother Omena has lost his fight to cancer at the early hours of Monday 4th September 2017.
‘I would like to offer a heartfelt “THANK YOU” to everyone who have contributed so far financially, with prayers and with words of encouragement.
‘Unfortunately our worst fears have been confirmed and we now need your donations now more than ever to support the children. No amount is too small as a little streams make mighty Oceans.’
In a heartbreaking video filmed on 16 August a weak and bed-bound Mr Ubiaro said: ‘Thank you so much to everyone that’s been supporting myself and my family.
‘Myself and my five boys, we’ve just lost my wife, they’ve lost a mother, and they’ve also lost their best friend as well.’
He went on to thank people for their prayers, thoughts, gifts, and for trying to make him laugh.
He added: ‘I know at times people say “Be strong, be strong, be strong,” but sometimes guys, it’s tough.
‘Where do I find that strength from? I cannot lie. It has been the most toughest thing that a husband and a father has ever had to face.’
He ends the video with a pledge to beat the illness.
The couple met as teenagers at college in Clapham, South London, before marrying in 2004 and moving to Birmingham in 2009, according to the Mirror.
Tributes have been paid online for the tragic couple and the five boys they leave behind.
Abi Babalola said: ‘May God comfort your children. May they be pleased in the fact that they had amazing parents even for such a short time. May they be comforted and honour your legacy as the years progress.’
Linda Okeke added: ‘Omena, we bonded over diet and fitness. You fought so very hard. No more pain. May you and your dear wife Makeda rest in perfect peace.’
Femi Iloyi, 40, said his best friend Mr Ubiaro had been ‘determined’ to be there for his children.
Mr Iloyi told Mirror Online shortly before his death: ‘Omena is a big, muscly guy but right now he is about 8st. He is so determined to stay alive for his children.
‘Omena is such a humble guy, since he was diagnosed he just pulled his socks up and carried on. I’m not he has fully processed his wife’s death he is just focusing on being there for his children.’
Mrs Ubiaro had colostomy surgery shortly before her death, but her cancer spread, the Mirror said.
Omena whose death from bowel cancer left five children orphaned will today be buried alongside his wife – five weeks after she died from the same illness. The joint funeral of Omena Ubiaro and Makeda is being held this morning in Birmingham – the day after Omena passed away at a hospice.