Jake Manning was taken in by Kerry Bremer, the devoted teacher who supported both him and his late mother through her battle with cancer.
When Bremer met Manning and his mother in 2015, she said she “fell in love with him instantly.” But Jean Manning was fighting terminal breast cancer and was concerned for the boy’s future. “As she got sicker that year, I just thought, ‘What is she going to do?’” Bremer said, according to CBS 12.
Bremer spoke with her husband, and agreed to offer the dying woman true peace of mind. “If you need a backup plan for Jake, then our family is happy to make him part of our family,” Bremer told Jean, who was filled with relief. “She said, ‘I’ll sleep better tonight than I have in a long time,’” Bremer remembered.
“When I first met him when he was in Kerry’s class, it was fun,” Dave Bremer said. “But when we first decided to do this and I met him again, he said. ‘You’re the dad? You’re Dave the dad?’ That was it for a very long time. I was Dave the dad.”
And so it went: Manning began spending weekends and holidays with his promised family. Manning children Kaitlyn, Kristen, and Jonathan immediately embraced Jake, forging bonds that now carry him through a devastating — if foreknown — loss.
Jake’s mother passed away on Wednesday. “My mom went to Heaven,” he said. “She’s always in my heart.” She lives on in the Bremer family, too. “We shared our boy, and she will live on here in this house,” Kerry Bremer said.
As of the time of this writing, a GoFundMe page created by family friends Cheryl Nichols Caira and Caroline Brown Greenblatt to support Manning and the Bremers has reached more than $30,000 on a $25,000 goal.