We can never imagine the pain parents feel when they lose their child – sometimes, they’re not the only ones sad, but also the community they live in and the child’s best friends. Kenneth “KJ” Gross, a 12-year-old, lost his fight against leukemia in the summer. His best friend Kaleb Klakulak was heartbroken, but when he found that KJ’s family wouldn’t be able to afford a gravestone for his friend. He decided that he has to do something, so he worked hard to raise money to buy a gravestone for KJ.
Even though KJ had battled leukemia for his entire life with the help of chemotherapy and treatment, he and Kaleb never let it slow their friendship down. According to Channel 7 Detroit News, the two boys had an inseparable bond, with both of them sharing the same interests. Kaleb would go to the hospital so that they could be together. The two boys would enjoy calmer activities like painting and board games.
When KJ passed away, his mom found herself facing not only the death of her son but also the expenses surrounding a funeral. Singleton had been forced to quit her job so that she could take care of her son and also had other children to take care of according to Channel 7 Detroit News.
KJ was buried in a family plot that had already been paid for, but he would have to go without a headstone. The costs associated with a headstone were simply too much for the mom to cover.
But that’s when Kaleb stepped up to bat for his old friend’s memory. When he found out that a headstone was $2,500, Kaleb began working to save back the money. He took on all kinds of odd jobs from returning soda bottles for the deposit to doing household chores. While the goal seemed far away, Kaleb wasn’t going to give up!
On top of his work, Kaleb started a crowd-funding page and shared his goal with the rest of the world. Realizing that he wanted to have KJ’s headstone in place by Christmas, the public hurried to help. By the time that Christmas rolled around, Kaleb was able to provide KJ’s mom with the funds necessary to purchase a headstone.
Although it’s now been a year, KJ’s headstone is still an important reminder to the community of what one boy can do to help his friend’s memory stay strong. We are so thankful for this devotion and hard work!