AYER, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Jake Manning has a new home.
He and his mother, Jean, first met teacher Kerry Brenner four years ago when Jake was in her class. Jean was very sick at the time.
"I had a very strong connection with Jake, and talked to my husband and said, what do you think about offering for us to let him live here if something takes a turn?" Brenner told WBZ NewsRadio's Madison Rogers. "Then I spoke with Jean and I told her that I could be overstepping my bounds, but if she needed a back-up plan for Jake, we could be the back-up plan. She said she would sleep better that night than she had slept in a long time."
So, for the past few years, Jake has been staying over one or two times a month.
"He's just become part of the family," Brenner said. "The kids love him, probably more than they love each other!"
Tragically, Jean lost her life to breast cancer last week. She passed away in her sleep.
"Last Wednesday, Jake went to school in the morning, and when he came home in the afternoon, his mom didn't get him off the bus," Brenner said.
Brenner said Jake has a lot of aunts and uncles and cousins who really love him, but she realized she was in a very unique position to take him in.
There is a GoFundMe set up to benefit the new family, and as of Thursday night, it had reached $38,000 of its $50,000 goal. Brenner said she's humbled by the outpouring of support.
To donate, click here.
WBZ NewsRadio's Madison Rogers (@_madisonrogers) reports