Michigan Boy Raising Money for Friend's Gravestone Gets Wish

"Here's this 12-year-old kid who saw a need and did what needed to be done. So I'm just following this young man's lead."

A 12-year-old Michigan boy who'd been working odd jobs to raise money for a gravestone for his best friend is getting some help. 

Funeral home owner David Techner decided to donate a headstone after reading The Detroit News' story about Kaleb Klakulak, who had been best friends with Kenneth "K.J." Gross since second grade. K.J. died in May after years of chemotherapy to fight leukemia. 

K.J.'s mother, LaSondra Singleton, had to quit her job to take care of her sick son and couldn't afford a headstone. So Kaleb started raking leaves and collecting bottles, with hopes of raising $2,500 for a headstone to honor his friend. 

Techner, who owns Ira Kaufman Chapel in the Detroit suburb of Southfield, told The Detroit News that "the story really touched my heart." 

"Here's this 12-year-old kid who saw a need and did what needed to be done," Techner said. "So I'm just following this young man's lead." 

Kaleb said he's "glad." 

Singleton said she is "overwhelmed and grateful" for the outpouring of support, though she said the attention has caused her to relive some hard moments.

"It's a double-edged sword because it's sad, but at the same time, it's so wonderful to see so much compassion," she said.

The marker was completed Tuesday and will soon be transported to K.J.'s gravesite at Elmwood Cemetery in Detroit. The headstone features an image of an angel holding a heart with the inscription: "KJ Gross, cherished son, brother & friend."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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