When Floridian special needs teacher Kerry Bremer first met Jake Manning -- one of Bremer's students with down syndrome -- she instantly fell in love. At the time, Jake's mother, Jean Manning, was a single mom who was dying of cancer. According to Today, Jean offered guardianship to Bremer after seeing how well the teacher cared for her son, and Bremer ended up adopting Jake.
Knowing she would die of cancer, Jean was terrified about what would happen to her special needs son. During the emotional moment between the two women, Bremer shared how relieved Jean was to know that her son would be loved after she was gone.
"She said, 'I'll sleep better tonight than I have in a very long time.' Her biggest fear was what would happen to Jake after she passed," recalled Bremer.
Jake was only 14-years-old when his mother passed away earlier this month. Although the loss was painful for him, Bremer and her family did everything in their power to make the transition easier for Jake.
Part of the adjustment process involved having Jake spend the night at Bremer's home, which took place well in advance of his mother's death. They also had family events together in order to provide Jake a sense of belonging. Despite the difficulties she was facing both emotionally and physically, Jean encouraged these activities, hoping it would make things easier for her son.
"We would take Jake to appointments together and celebrate holidays together. Jean called him 'our son.' That must have been so hard for her, to be planning for her death, but she did a beautiful job. She was so courageous," said Bremer.
According to Bremer, Jake considers her other children to be his siblings and feels at home with them, thanks to his mother's selfless actions. On the flip side, Bremer's family can't get enough of Jake and the joy he exudes.
Oftentimes, children with down syndrome don't have the opportunity to truly thrive. It takes special people like Bremer to give them a chance to shine. This is the same message that 16-year-old Laura Lyle, the first down syndrome model to strut down the runway during New York Fashion Week, publicly shared, as The Inquisitr previously reported.
"Lots of kids with down syndrome never get a chance to shine or chase their dreams. Each one has something to offer and each one has a dream," said Lyle.