By Christine Copelan
“I’m afraid your child may die.”
No parent wants to hear these words. For David and Brittany Spence (’01, ’06; ’02, ’03), this nightmare became a reality shortly after their son Forrest was born.
Forrest fought for his life for fifty-five days before passing, and although his time with his parents was short, they made sure he would live on through a fund created in his name. The Forrest Spence Fund assists families of critically or chronically ill children with nonmedical needs including care packages and counseling, among other things.
During their stay with Forrest at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, the Spences received an overwhelming amount of love and support.
“We were loved deeply,” says Brittany. “We didn’t lack for anything.”
However, they noticed several families were not so fortunate. Many families were unable to be with their sick children because they lacked money or transportation, so the Spences decided to do something to help.
“It broke our hearts,” says Brittany. “We couldn’t just walk away. We wanted to see the family as a whole taken care of.”
The Spences took all the love and support they received and put in into the Forrest Spence Fund to help families in similar situations. The fund was initially going to be a smaller, short-term project, but it evolved into something much larger.
“So much money and support and love came through,” Brittany says. “It became more than we ever imagined.”
The fund, based in Memphis, focuses largely on families in the Mid-South region, but is willing to help families everywhere and plans to expand in the future.
And while the fund helps other families heal, the Spences find peace knowing that their son’s short life is touching so many others.
“A huge part of my healing is the fund,” says Brittany. “The worst thing that ever happened to me helped give birth to something so big.”
For more information about the Forrest Spence Fund, visit forrestspencefund.org.