Forest Park junior raises funeral funds


Simon Jacob

FERDINAND — Gaynell Peters embraced Simon Jacob in the Forest Park parking lot on Saturday.

Peters is grateful for the deed Jacob has done following the death of her son, Anderson, on Nov. 4. Anderson, a junior at Forest Park, died following hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or an enlarged heart. Jacob, a fellow junior, and a close friend of Anderson’s, took it upon himself to start a page on to raise funds for Anderson’s funeral and his family. 

He originally wasn’t sure if he could get close to $5,000, and thought he could help his family if he even raised $1,000. Jacob contributed, and so did his parents, Rodney and Debbie. Total donations stood at more than $8,000 as of today. Jacob said donations would be collected through early this week. He could not believe it on Saturday that he raised as much as he did.

“I thought that the least that I could do, really, is to do something like this and help pay for funds of the funeral because he was just such a great friend,” Jacob said. “I just feel like the Lord put me in this position to be able to do something like this.” 

The two first met in fifth grade. Jacob remembered playing basketball with Anderson, and said how much Anderson made him laugh. Jacob said the two of them used to get in trouble in class for laughing too much and cracking jokes. He called his late friend, “the funniest dude I know.” 

Jacob said he was thinking what he could do for the family the day after Anderson’s death because he praised what great people his family are. He said he was talking with friends when he came up with the GoFundMe idea, and they approved of it. Jacob appreciated people from other schools donating and keeping the Peters family in their prayers. He said knowing that people in the community care about the cause and supporting his family personally helps him go to sleep at night.

He said he couldn’t thank people enough for their contributions. Jacob said people were thanking him, but felt he was probably getting more attention than he should be getting.

“I didn’t do anything special,” he said. “I really didn’t. It’s just everybody that’s donated and everybody that’s contributed, they’re the people that’s making this possible.”

Jacob plays basketball for the Rangers, who begin their season Nov. 27 at home against Crawford County. He said Anderson’s memory is going to push him every time he’s in practice to not give up. Jacob added he will write something on his shoe to remember his friend. He said he’ll probably write, “Prayers up for Anderson.” 

Anderson’s funeral occurred on Saturday, and Gaynell was very thankful for what Jacob did. She said she was shocked, and never would have imagined him doing what he did. Gaynell said Anderson would look down and praise Jacob for being a great friend for helping his mother. The fundraiser has brought awareness to how much the community cares for Anderson and her during these times.

“I think it’s a tight-knit communituy that helps other people and cares for other people,” she said. “When somebody is in need, they’re there to help them.” 

Click here to donate.

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