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Teacher adopts student with Down syndrome after his mother dies of cancer

Posted: 10:08 AM, Nov 20, 2019
Updated: 2019-11-20 10:08:03-05

AYER, Mass. — (WCVB/CNN) - A teacher in Massachusetts has opened her home to one of her students after his mother recently died of cancer.

Kerry Bremer met Jake Manning, who has Down syndrome, and his single mother, Jean, more than four years ago.

"I fell in love with him instantly," Bremer said.

Bremer knew Jean Manning was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer.

"As she got sicker that year, I just thought: 'What is she going to do?'" Bremer said.

After talking with her husband, Bremer made the Mannings an offer.

"If you need a backup plan for Jake, then our family is happy to make him part of our family," Bremer said. "She said: 'I'll sleep better tonight than I have in a long time.'"

Jake spent the next few years getting to know Bremer's family, sharing weekends and holidays with them.

Her children -- Kaitlyn, Kristen and Jonathan -- quickly embraced Jake's loving and joyful nature, along with her husband, Dave.

"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."

On Wednesday, Jean Manning suddenly passed away. She took a nap after a chemotherapy treatment and never woke up.

"My mom went to heaven," Jake said. "She's always in my heart."

"We shared our boy and she will live on here in this house," Kerry Bremer said.

The Bremers are now Jake's guardians and he is thankful that his second family was there for him when he needed them most.

Friends of Jean Manning have set up a GoFundMe page to help support Jake and the Bremer family.

Courtesy WCVB via CNN Newsource