May 16th, 2012
01:26 PM ET

The gift of Charles: Giving back

Forest and Tremica Thompson, who invited CNN to document the final week of their son Charles’ life, have received notes of thanks and support from across America - and as far away as Zimbabwe.

"I just hope it changes people's thoughts on the death of children and helps families like ours," Tremica says.

Since the story was published, many have asked how they can help the family. They have opened a memorial fund called “The Gift of Charles” through Wells Fargo.

The family plans to use the fund to help troubled teens in their hometown of Stockton, California, find a stable environment with positive role models.

"Charles always spoke about us as a family and asked us to continue to help other children that are in the system," Tremica says.

Donations also would go toward the George Mark Children's House, the palliative care center where Charles died. CNN readers have already donated more than $17,000 to the center as a result of Charles’ story.

Anyone wishing to make a donation can do so at any Wells Fargo branch by providing the account name – “Tremica Thompson: The Gift of Charles Fund” - and the state it was opened in: California.

Or they can write a check made out to “The Gift of Charles” and send it to the George Mark Children’s House:

Forest and Tremica Thompson
c/o George Mark Children’s House
2121 George Mark Lane
San Leandro, CA   94578

Anyone wishing to contact the family directly with words of encouragement can email them at

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Filed under: California • Charity • Health • Hospice Care
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Scottish Mama

    Life- the way you live it, that is what is important.

    May 16, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Fiona

    It's Charles's, not Charles'.

    May 16, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sherry

      Either way is correct.

      May 16, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • NiEM

      Actually, both are correct.

      May 16, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Joan Olsson

    I'm so glad this story has made the national news. It's a wonderful, uplifting story.

    May 16, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. lasophia58

    Charles looks so much like my brother who passed in March, 2011. He had been sick all of his life, abused, and a ward of the state, but fought until the end. There are no words to express how much I love and miss my brother. I only wish that my brother had the family experience of unconditional love that this family provided. When I first read and viewed the video I was angry that Charles only had a few years to know love, not realizing that was exactly what the blessing was, to be loved during his time of need.

    May 16, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Doreen

    When I saw this story last week, I read it and watched it over and over. I cried each time. I envy the love and friendship this family has and I am so glad they were able to give Charles the family he needed all the way to the end. I wish I knew them – I wish I could tell them how uplifting their story is and how much it has changed me. Thank you.

    May 16, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jamie

    RIP Charles. A very touching story. What a great loving family Charles was blesseed with.

    May 16, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Heather

    Amazing story! I cried when I watched it. It is nice to see the news do a story like this. CNN you have made the world a better place as did this family!

    May 16, 2012 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Guest

    I tell my young child when we have lost loved ones, especially those that have departed unexpectedly, that sometimes, life just breaks your heart. But loving people so deeply and then grieving the loss when they pass is what makes us human. The way I look at it, every day is a gift, and that young man's family obviously got that, for sure...what lovely folks...I have no doubt their lives are richer because of the way they took him in, helped him when he became ill, and allowed the whole family to experience Charles' passing in a positive way, if that was even remotely possible. That's what it's all about.

    May 17, 2012 at 12:16 am | Report abuse |