DETROIT — A 12-year-old Michigan boy is working odd jobs to raise money for a special Christmas gift: a gravestone for his best friend.
Kaleb Klakulak and Kenneth “K.J.” Gross had been friends since second grade before K.J. died in May of congestive heart failure after years of chemotherapy to fight leukemia, The Detroit News reported .
K.J. was buried in a family plot at Detroit’s Elmwood Cemetery. But K.J.’s mom couldn’t afford a grave marker, so Kaleb has been raking leaves, collecting bottles and soliciting PayPal donations on social media to help raise $2,500. He raised hundreds of dollars and gave the money to K.J.’s mother, LaSondra “San” Singleton.
“I love Ms. San,” Kaleb said. “I was sad she couldn’t afford it. I wanted people to be able to find (K.J.’s grave) when they went to see him.”
Kaleb’s mom, Kristy Hall, helped him get started with the fundraising effort.
“I really think this is a great thing for Kaleb to focus on and help him with his healing as well as K.J.’s mom, who misses her baby and has to visit an unmarked grave,” Hall wrote in a Facebook post about Kaleb’s goal.
Singleton said she’s overwhelmed by Kaleb’s actions and love for her son, even after his death. She said the boys “were kindred spirits; they were like brothers.”
“It just speaks volumes to the type of people that they are, and it speaks to the type of person that K.J. was — he impacted people to where they want to do this for him,” Singleton said.
An update was recently posted on the PayPal account saying all of the funds have been provided for K.J.’s headstone. “We thank each and every person who donated and shared this story. We never dreamt it would take off like it did! The PayPal will be open for a couple of weeks. If you still wish to donate the money will be used to help Kj’s family during this financial and emotional hardship! If not .. that’s totally fine too…”