Parenthood
Teacher fulfills promise and opens home to student after his mom passes away
Kerry and her family went above and beyond to make sure that Jake was well cared for after he lost his mom.
Jenny Brown
09.21.22

It takes a lot of hard work, patience, and compassion to be a special education teacher. A woman named Kerry Bremer is one of many in the field who takes her job seriously. But in her case, she even went above and beyond to help care for one of her former students.

A few years ago, Bremer met a boy with Down syndrome named Jake Manning. She described the boy as “dynamic”.

YouTube - ABC News
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YouTube - ABC News

Sadly, Jake’s mom, Jean Manning, had terminal breast cancer which had metastasized in her brain. She was a single mom and the concern was who would take care of Jake.

YouTube - ABC News
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YouTube - ABC News

Kerry was aware of the situation, so had a heartfelt conversation with Jean about it.

“I called her and I said, ‘I could really be overstepping the boundaries here, but I just want to let you know that if you need a backup plan for Jake, my family and I are willing to offer guardianship,’” Kerry told CNN.

It was a difficult but necessary topic and yet Jean, in tears, replied. “And she said, ‘I am going to sleep better tonight than I have in a long time.’” Kerry said. “Her biggest fear was what would happen to Jake after she passed.”

YouTube - ABC News
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YouTube - ABC News

The Mannings had just moved to Massachusetts from Florida. Kerry had only known them a short time being Jake’s special education teacher at the CASE Collaborative School.

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YouTube - ABC News

Kerry and her husband Dave, along with the kids, agreed to the arrangement.

Kerry knew it was the right thing to do. “I fell in love with Jake instantly,” she revealed. “I knew he would need a home and there was no way I wouldn’t open ours to him.”

YouTube - ABC News
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YouTube - ABC News

Jean passed away on November 13. After taking her son to the bus, she took a nap after a chemotherapy treatment and never woke up.

Without hesitation, Kerry fulfilled her promise to Jean and welcomed Jake into their family.

“I’m terribly sad that Jake … doesn’t have his mom to be with him for the rest of his life,” Kerry told CNN. “But I’m very, very grateful that she trusted us to take him and be with him and share our home with him.”

YouTube - ABC News
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YouTube - ABC News

When Jean was still alive, she helped Dave and Kerry with Jake’s transition.

“We would take Jake to appointments together and celebrate holidays together. Jean called him ‘our son,’” Kerry said. “That must have been so hard for her, to be planning for her death, but she did a beautiful job. She was so courageous.”

Jake handled his mom’s passing well.

“He says she’s in heaven with God and with his aunts. He knows that he won’t see her again. He knows that his new home is with us,” Kerry said. “He calls her his Queen Angel Mom.”

YouTube - ABC News
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YouTube - ABC News

Kerry and Dave were named as Jake’s legal guardians and Kerry says she’s willing to adopt Jake should that prove to be the best arrangement.

YouTube - ABC News
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YouTube - ABC News

Since their story made its way onto the internet, it’s been pulling on heartstrings. Not only are Kerry and her family heroes for taking in Jake – but Jean is as well. While knowing she didn’t have long on earth – she did everything she could to make sure her son would always be loved and cared for. What a good mom!

Check out the video below to see more on this very touching story.

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By Jenny Brown
hi@sbly.com
Jenny Brown is a senior writer at Shareably. She is based in San Francisco and can be reached at hi@shareably.net.
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