Skip to main contentSkip to footer

Jenna Bush Hager shares loss of young family friend for important reason

The star is a mom-of-three

jenna bush hager
Hannah Hargrave
Hannah HargraveUS Deputy Editor
Share this:

Jenna Bush Hager has been inundated with support and thanks after sharing the story of the death of someone very special to her family. 

The Today host took to Instagram with an emotional post detailing the heartbreaking death of 16-year-old Penny, who Jenna described as "one of my girls' favorite friends".

TRENDING NOW: Today's Dylan Dreyer brings fans to tears with emotional update on Al Roker

TRENDING NOW: GMA3's Amy Robach speaks out for first time following hiatus from the show 

Alongside a post featuring a photo of the teen, and the inspirational quote: "Spread your wings, shine your light. What is truly important is your wingspan, not your lifespan," which promoted the foundation, Penny's Flight, Jenna wrote: "So proud of my incredible friends Kate @doergek and Chad—who started this amazing organization inspired by their beautiful Penny (one of my girls’ favorite friends—who we miss!) @pennysflight — link in bio #spreadyourwings #shineyourlight #nfresearch #pennysflighto."

WATCH: Jenna Bush Hager's sweet reunion with her daughter Mila

Her fans thanked her for sharing the post and commented: "Thank you for sharing Pennys story and spreading her wings for research. She was a beautiful girl and forever will be in our hearts."

Penny's mom added: "Thank you so much for helping us spread Penny’s wings and raising awareness for critical funds need for NF research."

MORE: Al Roker shares new video looking to the future following a difficult time in his family

ALSO POPULAR: Michael Douglas shares heartfelt message to rarely-seen son - and they look like twins

The website,, detailed Penny's lifelong battle with neurofibromatosis (NF1).  She died on 10 November 2022, but not without a fight. 

View post on Instagram

Jenna shared the foundation which has been set up in honor of the teen who died

"Penny was a model of resilience, positivity and courage," the site reads: "Diagnosed with neurofibromatosis (NF1) as an infant, Penny never let this define her or hold her back. She lived her life “Walking on Sunshine”, in the words of her favorite song.

"Penny made an impact everywhere she went by shining her bright light. She was an inspiration and a teacher to people of all ages.

MORE: Hoda Kotb visibly emotional during moving moment with co-star on Today

"Penny is the daughter of Chad and Kate Doerge who created the Penny’s Flight Foundation shortly after Penny’s death in November 2022.  

jenna bush hager children© Photo: Instagram

Jenna said Penny was adored by her children and the whole family 

The Foundation was created to advance medical research in NF1 and its related disorders, and to inspire others to live with positivity and humor and find the beauty and joy in all situations."

Read more HELLO! US stories here 

Like this story? Sign up to our HELLO! Mail newsletter to receive all the latest royal and celebrity news straight in your inbox.

More Celebrity News

See more