When you think of social media mega site Facebook, you don’t usually conjure up images of a cemetery and/or a gravestone, right? With this recent story making headlines around the world, now you just might. Today, it was revealed that a church in Germany has agreed to allow a gravestone with a ball next to it to be placed in memory of a nine-year-old boy who loved soccer more than anything and sadly died from a brain tumor.
First saying no to the request, the church ultimately changed its mind after the power of social media grabbed hold, more specifically the power of a massive Facebook campaign that prompted nearly 100,000 angry messages.
After meeting Juergen Klopp on one of his last days here on the earth, the beloved coach of the club Borussia Dortmund, Jeans Pascal begged his mother that when that unfortunate time came where he was no longer be on this earth she would erect a stone that forever memorialized the club that won Germany's Bundesliga just days before the child died back in May.
Image of Juergen Klopp via Google
"Mummy, when I die, I would like a gravestone with the club logo," Pascal's mother, Nicole Schmidt, told Bild daily, Yahoo News reported.
Yet, when the Church of Maria Heimsuchung in Dortmund outright refused the dying wish of this adolescent stating “it did not conform to rules which ban non-Christian inscriptions and images,” Soccer fans from Dortmund and other German clubs joined together and created a Facebook page titled "The Last Wish of Jens Pascal." Supporters then used this page to openly express their disbelief that a soccer loving child whose live was cut way too short wouldn’t be able to enjoy what he wanted his gravestone to look like for all of eternity.
One post said, "It is outrageous” while another stated “I ask the Church not to be led by regulations, show us your heart!"
And happily, the campaign worked, as the church issued a statement at the beginning of this week stating a compromise had been struck between both parties, and the sculpture of a ball would now be placed on the ground instead of the top.
"It was never the intention of the church to stand in the way of the little boy's last wish," the official statement read. "It was about reconciling the interests of the Church community, the cemetery rules and the interests of the parents of the child who died."
It’s extremely sad when the good die young, especially an innocent child. However, it might help his parents cope a little easier with their loss knowing that their son is forever smiling down on what he wanted more than anything else in this world.
Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli