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Time passes very slowly when you’re in a hospital waiting for updates on your child’s surgery. But for Jennifer Fortin, seeing the Facebook updates on her phone in the hospital waiting room opened up a floodgate of tears.

People from all over their community had started the hashtag #CarterStrong for their little boy, posting blue hearts, buying t-shirts, and sending prayers. And at that moment, Jennifer understood the complex ways in which people come together in moments of need.

Carter is now a strong and happy 10-year-old boy, but when he was 7, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor which turned into a brain cancer diagnosis. Brain surgery successfully removed the tumor, and after several rounds of radiation and chemo treatments, he finally got the “all clear.”

But the journey this family embarked on has taught them resilience, strength, the power of community, courage, and the impact of helping others in small ways. 

Today, Jennifer joined me on this episode to share some wonderful tips for parents currently in the thick of their journey or for those of you supporting a family. From how to find your community to how to source strength and ask for help, Jennifer reminds us that “the more you look for your blessings, the easier it is to see them.”

Key Takeaways with Jennifer Fortin

  • Processing the reality of a difficult diagnosis.
  • The challenges in processing a difficult diagnosis.
  • Supporting your children during hard medical journeys. 
  • Balancing care between the siblings at home & your hospitalized child.
  • How others can support families in small yet helpful ways (laundry, cleaning, meal trains, a coffee)
  • Why sharing your story with others can help you or another family.

Jennifer Fortin Tweetables

  • “We met an incredible amount of people in that fight. Very inspiring people, people who have pushed me to view life differently and to have an incredible amount of empathy and understanding for others.” – Jennifer Fortin
  • “I found that a lot of people reached out. When they heard our story they would offer their inspirational story too.” – Jennifer Fortin
  • “We felt the message we put out there was important. We could focus on the scary stuff and let that all take over, or we could share the facts and focus on the strengths.” – Jennifer Fortin
  • “Life can knit you together with people in unexpected ways, they can give you this vision of hope that really helps you put one foot in front of the other.” – Jamie Freedlund


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