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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A LIttle Good News For The Kids Of Toronto Mom That Passed Away

Amanda and Jamal Gray pose for a photo with their mother, Kimberley Watzl, at the Kensington Hospice in Toronto last month. Watzl died Saturday.

Single mom Kimberley Watzl dies, readers invited to funeral

Single mother Kimberley Watzl has died of cervical cancer. Her 
children have raised about $30,000 and have invited Toronto Star 
readers to her funeral.

By:  News reporter,

In her last days of life, Kimberley Watzl lay unresponsive in a hospice bed. Her children, Amanda and Jamal Gray, sat on either side, clutching her hands.
“You can go,” Amanda finally whispered in her mother’s ear.
Two days later, she did.
Watzl, 41, died Saturday afternoon in Kensington Hospice. The single mother had been diagnosed with advanced cervical cancer six months earlier. In October, she was given three months to live.
She first became known to Star readers in a Jan. 10 article about the uncertain future her kids faced. Amanda, 20, and Jamal, 14, had no other living family, and feared they could not afford a dignified funeral or fend for themselves after their mother’s death.
The response to the story was stunning. Hundreds of readers replied with offers to donate money, home-cooked meals, tutoring services and support. The Grays have raised about $30,000 so far.
The siblings will also be able to give their mother the funeral she deserves, thanks to help from Prospect Cemetery, Ward Funeral Home, St. Clare Catholic Church and an anonymous donor who helped pay for the tombstone.
“Amanda wants everyone to understand that she could have never done this without them. They made this experience a little bit easier,” said Amanda’s boyfriend, Nick Cabrera, while the siblings grieved privately.
The family is inviting Star readers who have connected with the story to attend Watzl’s visitation and funeral this week.
She will be remembered as a selfless mother who sacrificed everything for her kids and cared deeply about others, even while dealing with her own problems. Her only income was the $1,895 a month she received from the Ontario Disability Support Program.
“She did without,” Cabrera said. “She would wear the same pair of jeans forever so that her kids could get a new sweater. . . . When she saw somebody on the street, she would give, even though she didn’t have a lot herself.”
Watzl lived almost a month longer than doctors predicted, but in recent weeks she had undergone several painful surgeries and suffered a mental breakdown.
“She’s going to miss her kids. She was angry about everything that had happened to her,” said Cabrera, adding her pain was eased by the knowledge her children will be all right.
In her final interview with the Star last month, Watzl sounded astonished by the support she and her children had received.
“It was a total shock to me that anyone would try to help. It feels amazing that people really care,” she said. “It’s touching. Oh my God, it’s touching.”
Visitation for Kimberley Watzl is at Ward Funeral Home, 2035 Weston Rd., from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday. Funeral mass will take place at 10 a.m. Wednesday at St. Clare Catholic Church, 1118 St. Clair Ave. W., followed by burial at Prospect Cemetery, 1450 St. Clair Ave. W.
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