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It’s been said grief is not a medical disorder to be cured, but it’s to be felt in our hearts and our minds and our bodies.

A Memphis mother, Brittany Spence, is using her grief to help others, making her a Remarkable Woman.

Inside this East Memphis office, the one with the logo of a big tree and a little one “leaning in,” there are dozens of pictures on the wall that show empathy, understanding, and hope.

For Spence, these are not just photos, but each one is a family that leaned on her to help them through one of the most difficult times of their lives.          

“So, on the wall are families that we’ve helped. Some have lost children, like the Davises,” she said.

Brittany and her husband, David, understand the indescribable feeling of losing a child because they’ve been there too.

On September 10, 2007, the Spences welcomed their first child, Robert Forrest Spence. But soon after he was born, Forrest, as his family calls him, developed complications.  

“The neonatologist said, ‘We’re very scared your son may die,'” she said.

Forrest was transported to Le Bonheur’s Pediatric ICU. For 55 days, he fought for every second of his life.

“So, we fought with him and there came a point where, at the end, he was done fighting and we knew it, and we were with him as he died, because we knew he had fought a good fight,” Brittany said.

Even as the Spences grieved, they found a reason to be thankful.

“I had two months with him when many don’t, and many get no moments, but I had two really hard, but beautiful moments with him, with my son,” Brittany said.

While at Le Bonheur, the Spences were met with compassion and love that gave them hope, and out of their grief grew an idea to give that same compassion and hope to other families just like them.

“My husband looked at me and said, ‘We need to do something. We need to something more and call it the Forrest Spence Fund. The logo is going to be a big tree with a little tree leaning in. We are going to help other families.'”

Since 20-07, the Forrest Spence Fund has met more than 85,000 individuals’ non-medical needs throughout the Mid-South through grants, financial support, and counseling.

“When a child is in the hospital and the parents can’t make their car payments, they’re worried about their house payments,  they’re worried about the tires on their car when it’s time to take the baby home from the hospital. The Forrest Spence Fund is there to help them out,” Neysa Rhoads said.

Brittany also uses her podcast to connect with others.

It’s where Amanda McCollum found her voice to share her family’s story about how Brittany and the Forrest Spence Fund helped her when son and daughter were at Le Bonheur with heart problems.

“I would not want to imagine my life without the Forrest Spence Fund because I had two children that ended up with critical or chronic illnesses,” Amanda said.

Today, she is now a volunteer.

“I think it’s remarkable that Brittney looked around and identified the needs of others in the midst of her own trauma with her son Forrest, and she saw the needs of people and when Forrest passed away,” Amanda said. “She went back and said, ‘How can I make a difference? How can I meet the needs of these other people.'”

Brittany is inspired to meet those needs. She fights hard for families because of Forrest and what she called his “grit.”

“I think we can say that in Memphis, grit and grind,” she said. “Forrest had some real grit and grind.”

The grit and grind and the memory of Forrest motivates Brittany Spence, a wife and mom of three active kids and a Remarkable Woman helping families lean on her for empathy, understanding and hope and doing God’s work.

For more than 14 years, the Spence family has held the annual Forrest Spence 5-K to raise awareness and assist other families with non-medical needs of critically or chronically ill children.

“By God, for sure, and we know we’re called and that’s what we’re supposed to do. It’s not easy, but it what we are supposed to be doing,” she said.