Teacher fulfills promise of caring for boy with Down syndrome after mother's death

BOSTON — It was the ultimate promise from one mother to another.

When Jean Manning, a single mom of a boy with Down syndrome, found out she had breast cancer, she wanted to make sure her son Jake would be well taken care of if she were to pass away.

That's where Kerry Bremer comes in.

Bremer, a teacher, first met Jake four years ago when he was a student in her class. According to Bremer, it was an instant connection for the two.

"He’s just so lovable," said Bremer. "He loves everyone, and he’s so smart and funny. He is very funny."

Jake, now 14, stood out to Bremer not just because of his electric personality but also because of his unique home situation.

In May, Bremer and her husband David became Jake's guardians. It was a promise they made just months after meeting him.

"I called his mom and I said, 'I might be overstepping here, I’m really sorry if I am but just in case, if you need to have some backup for Jake my family would be willing to be his guardians,' and she said, 'I’m going to sleep better tonight than I have in a very long time,'" said Bremer.

Last week, when Jean passed away due to her cancer, she died with the peace of mind that her son would be well looked after.

Over the years, Jake spent days and weekends at the Bremer's house in Ayer. When his mom's time came, Jake moved in permanently.

"She put him on the bus in the morning and she didn’t come to the door to get him off the bus in the afternoon," said Bremer.

Bremer said she pledged to Jean she'd look after Jake as if he were her own. Now, Jake has two new sisters and a brother to grow up with.

"He needed us and quite honestly obviously we needed him because he’s fit in so perfect here," said Bremer.

Friends say Bremer is an inspiration and have started a GoFundMe account to help her take care of the newest addition to the family.

Bremer, with all she's done to help out Jake, says it was Jean's brave decision that gave her the honor of expanding her family.

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