A Facebook campaign has won the argument for a German boy’s gravestone to have a soccer ball symbol on it after a church in Germany bowed to public pressure to allow his parents the memorial.
The German boy’s parents wanted to erect a gravestone at the church cemetery with a ball beside if for their nine-year-old, who passed away from a brain tumor, reports Reuters.
The boy, who was obsessed with soccer, told his mom shortly before he died that he wanted a gravestone to reflect his passion — the club that won Germany’s Bundesliga just days before he died. Jens Pascal’s mother, Nicole Schmidt, recalled him saying, “Mummy, when I die, I would like a gravestone with the club logo.”
But the Church of Maria Heimsuchung in Dortmund, Germany, refused to allow the symbol, saying it didn’t conform with their rules which ban non-Christian inscriptions and images on gravestones.
The resulting dispute made international headlines, as well as a Facebook campaign called “The Last Wish of Jens Pascal.” Soccer fans flooded the page and the internet with comments expressing anger to the church for not allowing the German boy’s gravestone to reflect his last wish.
Yahoo! News notes that the campaign worked. The church issued a statement on Monday saying it agreed to a compromise with the boy’s parents. The gravestone will be erected and the soccer ball sculpture will be on the ground instead of on top of the headstone. The church’s statement read:
“It was never the intention of the church to stand in the way of the little boy’s last wish. It was about reconciling the interests of the Church community, the cemetery rules and the interests of the parents of the child who died.”
Because of the Facebook page, along with other outrage expressed over the situation, the German boy will get his gravestone with a soccer ball sitting next to it.