Grieving mother reaches out to young fire victim - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Ben Watson

Grieving mother reaches out to young fire victim

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A Somerville mother who lost her own son is channeling her grief into helping a young survivor of the tragic Orange Mound fire.
Two months ago, Melissa Chearis' 17-year-old son Anfernee was playing basketball when he suddenly collapsed on the court and died.

"It's horrible. It's tough. It's a nightmare," said Chearis.

Chearis says her son didn't have any health problems that she knew of, and she has yet to receive his autopsy results.

She says the Poole family's fire tragedy reminds her of her own pain. 

Seven members of Melrose High School student Darius Poole's family, including his mother, siblings and cousins, were killed in the recent fire.

Chearis hopes that giving her son's clothing to Poole will help him, and help her to deal with her own grief. "Yes, he did show me that was a good way to heal from my son, which he's always going to be on my heart. But me holding these clothes, it wouldn't do anything but just hurt me to go in his closet and look at them. He can't wear them and it would just bring tears."

During Sunday church services, the congregation applauded Chearis for using her faith to help others see that faith can heal pain.

"The almighty God gives me the strength to do this," said Chearis. "I have faith in God and I know that he will pull me through this."

Chearis says she has already discussed the donation with officials at Melrose High School, where Darius is a student. She plans to drop the clothing off at the school on Monday.

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