(CNN) — A teacher in Massachusetts has opened her home to a student with Down Syndrome after his mother recently died of cancer.
“I fell in love with him instantly and as she got sicker that year I just thought, what is she going to do,” said teacher Kerry Bremer.
Kerry met Jake and his mom, Jean Manning over four years ago.
She knew Jean was battling terminal breast cancer.
After talking to her husband and three children, kerry made Jean an offer — mom to mom.
“If you need a back up plan for Jake, then our family is happy to make him part of our family,” she said. “And she said ‘I’ll sleep better tonight than I have slept in a long time.’”
Jake spent the next few years getting to know Kerry’s family, sharing weekends and holidays.
Her kids Kaitlyn, Kristen and Jonathan quickly embraced Jake’s loving and joyful nature and Dave — he was an easy sell.
“When I first met him when he was in Kerry’s class. It was fun. But when we first decided to do this and I met him — it was ‘you’re dad? You’re Dave the dad?’ And that was it for a very long time — I was Dave the dad,” he said.
Then last week, in a heartbeat, Jean was gone.
She took a post-chemo nap and never woke up.
Jakes’s “back up” family was ready.
Kerry says the real hero is Jean — a dying mom who selflessly prepared her son for a safe and loving future.
“We shared our boy and she will live on here in this house,” Kerry said.
The Bremers are now Jake’s guardians.
Friends of Jean Manning have set up a GoFundMe page to help support Jake and the Bremer family.