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Teacher Adopts Student with Down Syndrome After Mom Dies from Grueling Battle with Cancer

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A compassionate teacher has adopted her own student after his mom died of cancer.


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written by

Will Maule

The incredible story began four years ago with a brutally honest conversation between special-ed teacher Kerry Bremer and Jean Manning, a terminally ill mother.

Though the pair had only known each other for a matter of months, their conversation would prove to be life-altering both for Kerry and for Manning’s son, Jake, who has Down Syndrome.

“I said, ‘I may be overstepping here and forgive me if I am, but my family and I would like to offer guardianship for Jake if you need a backup plan,’” Bremer recalled to TODAY Parents.

Through tears, Jean accepted her offer.

“I’ll sleep better tonight than I have in a very long time,’” the ailing mother explained.

Bremer noted how she “fell in love with Jake instantly” and could not help but offer him a place in their family. “I knew he would a need a home and there was no way I wouldn’t open ours to him,” she said.

On November 13, Manning passed away,

“My mom went to heaven,” Jake told CBS 17. “She’s my queen, angel mom. She’s always in my heart… she loved me so much.”

After Jean passed, Jean honored her promise and Jake moved into the family home. The house was already filled with Jake’s toys and clothes from the countless hours he’d been spending there while his mom went through grueling treatment. The transition was tough but is going well so far.

“We never thought twice about it,” Manning said of their decision to welcome Jake into their family. “I loved this kid so much. He has done more for us than we could ever do for him.”