The wife of the former US Marine who was killed fighting against invading Russians in Ukraine has seen her life “completely fallen apart” since her husband’s death, according to the slain soldier’s father.
New York native Willy Joseph Cancel, 22, left behind his 22-year-old wife Brittany — who is also a Marine veteran — and their seven-month-old son, Anthony, in March after he took a paid job with a private military contracting company “in order to protect the innocent” in Ukraine, his father wrote on a GoFundMe page.
On Tuesday, Cancel’s wife received “the worst call of her life,” when she was informed that her husband was killed in battle, the father said.
“’Your husband fought bravely but unfortunately he did not make it,’” she was told in a phone call.
“Since that April 26th phone call, her life has completely fallen apart and now she has to figure out how to build it back together, to figure out how to raise her son without his father or financial support,” the father wrote on the fundraising site, which has raised about $36,000 as of early Saturday morning.
“As a family, we are trying to support them as much as possible and be there for each other, but Brittany and Anthony will need more than what we can provide.”
The fundraiser hopes to raise enough money to support Cancel’s wife and son.
“He will grow up without a father, a father who was brave and selfless and whose life was senselessly lost,” Cancel’s father wrote about his grandson.
“While he will grow knowing that his father died a hero, we know this will not be easy. No parent should ever have to bury their child, and no child should have to grow up without a parent.”
Cancel, who is originally from Orange County and served as a volunteer firefighter in Walden, flew to Poland on March 12 and arrived in Ukraine the next day to fight alongside men from “all different countries,” his mother Rebecca Cabrera told CNN on Friday.
The circumstances of Cancel’s death were unclear and his body was not immediately recovered, Cabrera said.
Cancel previously served as a rifleman in the Marines and was stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, the Marine Corps said Friday.
He had no war-zone deployments and was given a bad-conduct discharge after violating a lawful general order, Marine Corps spokesman Maj. Jim Stenger said.