A German boy's last wish for a soccer-themed gravestone will be granted. Jens Pascal's wish was initially denied by a Catholic church, but it relented following a Facebook campaign that drew more than 100,000 supporters.
Jens Pascal, a 9-year-old boy from Dortmund, Germany, died from a brain tumor in May, reports Reuters. He was a devoted fan of Borussia Dortmund, which won Germany's Bundesliga for the 2010-2011 season and successfully defended the title for the 2011-2012 season. That victory was even more special for Jens, who died just a few weeks after Borussia Dortmund were crowned Bundesliga champions.
The players showed their support for Jens, visiting him in the hospital, and Borussia Dortmund's head coach, Juergen Klopp, visited him last Christmas, reports Reuters.
Jens was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in October 2011, reports Bild, the German newspaper. He made one last request to his mother, Nicole Schmidt: "Mom, if I die, I want a grave stone with the club logo," reports Bild.
The family designed the gravestone, which featured Borussia Dortmund's club logo, a soccer ball as well as the club's slogan “Real Love,” reports The Local. Unfortunately when the parents applied to the Church of Maria Heimsuchung for permission to erect the gravestone, the church denied the request, stating “inscriptions and images that are not associated with the Christian faith are not permitted."
Then a Facebook group was created, “The Last Wish of Jens Pascal,” reports Reuters. It did not matter which team a person supported, even bitter rivals signed up in support of Pascal's last wish, saying "It doesn't matter if you're a fan of Bayern, Gladbach or wherever. In this case we stand together and will only stop when this child's last wish is granted!" The Facebook page has more than 140,000 likes.
Much like Borussia Dortmund, Jens won his final wish. The church finally agreed to a gravestone with only minor adjustments. The soccer ball will be placed on the ground and the gravestone will also feature a Christian image, more than likely an image of a dove, reports Reuters.