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Little Leaders Series: Hartley Bernier

Hi Everyone!! As most of you know I started up the “Little Leaders” series last year to shed some light on the little shining stars in our communities and so far it’s been amazing to see the positive response come in from everyone in support of these uplifting blogs and the number of emails that we’ve received sharing stories of Little Leaders in YOUR communities!! Our goal for 2018 (along with many others!) is to keep sharing these incredible stories coming because I am SO proud of all the kids out there who are doing SO much good and I believe they deserve to be recognized!! I want them to know THAT WE ARE SEEING WHAT THEY ARE DOING and we LOVE THEM! Kudos to the moms, dads and support system these kids have in order to live with such compassion and empathy! The point of this monthly feature is to spotlight these special little leaders and help them with their efforts and hope to encourage other kids, youth, and families to follow suit!

So without further adieu, our “LITTLE LEADER” for the month of August is … Hartley Bernier … also known as “Hart”!!

We learned about Hartley from his mom and when we read her email, we knew straight away we wanted to feature this little leader and share his incredible story with you. I will let Hartley’s mama take it from here!!

Jillian Harris Little Leaders Series Hartley Bernier Jillian Harris Little Leaders Series Hartley Bernier

I am a mom of three little boys and as soon as I saw your most recent Little Leaders post I knew that I had to tell you about my oldest son, Hartley. He is 9 years old and he is my hero. He inspires everyone who meets him. He was born with intestinal failure and he works really hard (alongside his little brothers Hudson and Sullivan) as an ambassador for Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto, Ontario.

There is no better way to introduce you to our eldest son Hartley, than to show you what a day in his life is like. This video was made a few years ago, but it shows some of the things we still do every day to care for this fiery little SickKids ambassador.

Jillian Harris Little Leaders Series Hartley Bernier Jillian Harris Little Leaders Series Hartley Bernier

Sick Kids hospital saved our son’s life (on many occasions), and the GIFT program has continued to provide us with a world-class level of care for the last nine years. As a family, we are overwhelmingly grateful for all they do for us, and the multifaceted support they provide to families like ours. This is why giving back to the hospital means so much to us.

At the age of five, Hartley became a Sick Kids ambassador. He and his brothers have enjoyed being a key part of the new Sick Kids VS campaign, as it has empowered them, and inspired them to take their volunteer work on behalf of the hospital to a new level.

After doing a number of events for other important causes at the hospital, Hartley asked us why there weren’t any events for kids like him. It was this innocent question that led to the creation of Chefs with Hart.

In addition to daily 16+ hours on IV and Ostomy care, Hartley is required to eat 4000 calories a day. Because of the integral place diet holds in his care routines, putting on food-related events seemed like a perfect fit! Chefs with Hart has partnered with some of the best chefs and restaurants in Ontario to create fun, family-focused events to raise funds for the GIFT program.

Last year the boys raised over 40,000$ for the cause, hosting a variety of events in Toronto, Newmarket and Prince Edward County. Another important aspect of our work has been to raise awareness about a relatively unknown group of diseases described as Intestinal Failure. Children diagnosed with Intestinal Failure are some of the most complex and resource intensive patients seen in hospital today, and yet few people have even heard of it.

If you would like to learn more, or follow Hart’s journey, please join us on Instagram @chefswithhart or visit to make a donation.

Jillian Harris Little Leaders Series Hartley Bernier

Thank you SO MUCH Ashley, for sharing Hartley’s incredible story with us!! This little guy is going to go places, we have no doubt about that!! In honor of Hartley’s strength and amazing determination to “do good” in our world, we have made a donation of $250 to Chefs with Hart and hope you will too!!




Leave a Reply

  1. Dear Jilly,

    Congratulations for the initiative !!
    I, my husband and my daughter are already your fans in the program Love it or List it Vancouver and following your blog, we are more enchanted with the person that you are!
    These are the actions the world needs!
    Love your neighbor, without expecting anything more than this current pass from lives to lives!
    I am brazilian and I live in Brazil. Unfortunately our country is in a very big crisis with corrupt politicians and the health of the population is not a priority for them! but thanks to God there are people here who also do good and try to help others with much love, donating their time and motivating others to help those who need it!

    God bless you and your family!

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