Kaleb and KJ met five years ago, His introverted personality and his taste for video games brought them together quickly. All the time they wanted to be together and insisted on spending hours at each other’s house.
There were things that they had in common. Both had plump cheeks, were very quiet most of the time and both had been raised by single mothers.
When they were not immersed in video games, sometimes they watched a movie. But on other occasions, they went out into the open and killed the hours between the historic buildings of Greenfield Village, an old town in Michigan.
The only problem was the health of Kenneth Gross Jr (KJ), who since childhood was very sick and at his young age had already undergone two bone marrow transplants. The boy had leukemia.
Despite this, KJ did not resort to drama or depression. “I was happy even though I had to go through all those things, ” said his friend Kaleb Klakulak, in an interview with The New York Times.
But the situation became more complicated days after KJ’s birthday, at the beginning of 2018, when he had to be hospitalized because he needed a heart transplant. The years of chemotherapy had worn away his vital organ.
In the hospital, the doctors placed a tube in the throat of the child who did not allow him to speak. For the first time, KJ began to feel depressed and emotionally affected by his state of health.
The doctors had to turn to Kaleb, who did not hesitate to continue visiting his friend, even in difficult conditions and between the walls of a hospital.
The bitter taste was diluted with the passage of months. Every Tuesday Kaleb brought video game consoles and painting materials to the sanatorium. The children did not have to talk too much, because according to their mothers, they had always been like that among them.
While they were getting the right heart, the doctors placed a special device in KJ’s chest. But it did not work as they expected. KJ could not speak, but he was able to write on a whiteboard the things he wanted.
More than once his mother asked him if he wanted a new heart and the boy used to answer: ” Yes, mom .” However, one day in April the mother returned to ask the same question and on that occasion, KJ stared at him, without writing any response.
It was KJ’s mom. Things had become complicated and it was best to disconnect the support that kept your child alive. That would be the last time friends would meet. “How am I going to tell my son?” Thought Kaleb’s mother at that moment. “It was an extremely quiet car ride,” he recalled.
That day Kaleb did not say much in the hospital. There were many people and he just took the arm of his friend, who still lay unconscious. “Beloved brother, son and friend”
When KJ died, his mother did not have a job. Since they had admitted their son, he left his job and did not have the money to pay for a tombstone. Kaleb listened when his mother talked about this with KJ’s mom. “How much does a tombstone cost?” He asked.
Kaleb’s mother thought of raising funds through PayPal. But his son decided not to stay with his arms crossed and began to collect bottles in the neighborhood and sweep the entrances of his neighbors. The goal was to raise about $ 250.
Thanks to a note published by the American media outlet The Detroit News, the collection of funds multiplied and currently the donations page has raised more than 3,300 contributions.
The expectations were exceeded and only the mothers of the children know how much was finally raised, a figure that probably exceeded by far the $ 250. Kaleb, meanwhile, has decided to keep certain reserves since the death of his friend.
“He has not made other friends since then,” his mother said in an interview with CNN. “I think it’s difficult for him because he’s afraid, he does not want to lose anyone else .”