Lifestyle & Human Interest

Teacher Takes In Student with Down Syndrome After Mother Loses Battle with Cancer


A teenager with Down syndrome has found a new family after his single mother, Jean Manning, died of breast cancer.

Jake Manning is learning to cope with the recent death of his mother.

The pair moved from Florida to Ayer, Massachusetts, about four years ago so Jean could get the best cancer treatments possible, giving her the maximum amount of time with her son.

At his new school, Jake met Kerry Bremer, one of his teachers.

“I fell in love with him instantly,” Bremer told WCVB-TV.

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Bremer knew that Jake’s mother had been diagnosed with terminal cancer, and she worried about what might happen to Jake should his mother pass.

“As she got sicker that year, I just thought, ‘What is she going to do?’” Bremer said.

Bremer told her husband, Dave Bremer, about the boy’s plight. The couple soon knew how they wanted to help Jake and his mother, if it was something they wanted.

“If you need a backup plan for Jake, then our family is happy to make him part of our family,” Bremer told Jean, according to WCVB. “She said, ‘I’ll sleep better tonight than I have in a long time.'”

Over the next few years, Jean and Jake integrated into the Bremer family, spending weekends and holidays together so Jake could get used to what would eventually become his permanent family.

According to a GoFundMe campaign set up on Jake’s behalf, his mother passed away on Nov 13.

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“[U]nfortunately on Wednesday, 11/13/19, after Jeanie put Jake on the bus, she went back into the house to go back to sleep (as chemo has a way of taking any and all energy out of ones body) only this time she just didn’t wake up,” campaign organizers wrote.

Thanks to the Bremer family, what could have been an uncertain future for Jake was soon playing out just like a rehearsed fire drill: everyone knew how to respond in the immediate hours after Jean’s death.

“As promised, Kerry immediately came and got Jake and is now in the process of helping Jake cope with what will be his new life,” Jake’s GoFundMe page read.

The Bremers are now Jake’s guardians and will hopefully be able to ease the pain of his mother’s passing, if ever so slightly.

“We shared our boy and she will live on here in this house,” Bremer told WCVB.

“My mom went to heaven,” Jake said. “She’s always in my heart.”

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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