Felix's Funeral Fund

On the morning of December 12, 2018, after a long, hard fight with Mesothelioma, Felix Brow-Westbrook passed away in the ICU of Mercy Medical Center. Even at the end he continued to fight, offering to help intubate himself as the staff struggled to insert his breathing tube.

Felix's fight started a year before, almost to the day. After 3 weeks at New York Presbyterian Hospital in NYC, Felix was diagnosed with Biphasic Pleural Mesothelioma. Over the year, he had 5 surgeries, 5 weeks of radiation, 6 cycles of chemotherapy, 6 months of a clinical trial drug, and a combined 8 weeks stay in 4 different hospitals. 

He endured pain, discomfort, and loss over the past year. He was in the hospital for Christmas last year, and was having emergency surgery to drain a pericardial effusion on Thanksgiving (his favorite holiday!) this year. And, in spite of all that, he remained grateful, hopeful, and appreciative of every little thing he was given. No matter how invasive or painful a procedure was done to him, he thanked the doctors before they left the room.

On the evening of December 11th, Felix's breathing became more labored.  He drifted in and out of a  dream-like  state.  The doctors and nurses  thought he was fine because his vital signs looked good.  He was waiting for transport  to  Mount  Sinai in hopes  of being able to  have  surgery  to remove  his  pericardium  so his  heart could  beat properly.  His  heart  was  being  restricted  due to  the lining  being  thickened.  

I  held his hand  and  discussed  the  fleeting  visions  he  was  experiencing.  He  spoke  in  a quiet  child-like  way. At  one  point  he  was  ordering  vegetable  pizzas,  another  time  giving  his  name and  birthdate  for  imaginary  nurses. We talked about taking a road trip to Arizona with my friend Chris. He said, "I would love that." 

The  most  comforting,  yet  foreboding,  vision was  when  Felix  said  he  had  just  spoken  with  Grandma  Lena  who  passed away  in  2007.  I  asked  how  she  was  and  he said,  "she's good."  I  asked  what  they  talked  about  and  he  said,  "weed,  canning  vegetables,  and  carrot  juice."

At  around 1am, I texted  my husband to  bring  my  daughter  Bekah  to  see  Felix.  I wanted  to  make  sure  she  saw  him in case  anything  happened.  She  held  his  hand  for  3 hours. They talked about long pockets and turnip tea.  He said he couldn't wait to  see  the  sets  for  Mamma  Mia  that  Bekah  was  going  to  work on.

At about  5am  I was  finally able  to  convince  the  nurse  to  get  the  ICU  doctor.  Earlier I had thought about  just  making  him as  comfortable  as  possible, and,  holding  his  hand,  letting  him  slip away,  but  I was  still  holding  on  to  hope  that  he  would  pull  through. They immediately  brought  him  upstairs  to ICU.  I couldn't  even  ride  in  the elevator  with him.  I  followed behind  in  the  next  elevator.

Bekah,  Frank,  and  I waited  in  the  impersonal  ICU  waiting  room  with  all  the  belongings  representing  a 3 week  hospital  stay  surrounding  us. Frank called  a Lyft  back  home  so  Bekah  could  go to  school. After  they left,  I was  allowed  to  go  in  and  see  him  for  a minute.  I held  his  hand,  looked  in  his eyes,  and  told  him  he  was  going  to  be okay,  I was  right  here,  and  I would be  right  back  in  a minute.  It turned  out  to  be  another set of broken  promises.

I  went  back  to  the  cold waiting  room,  alone.  The  ICU  doctor  came  back  in  and  asked  if  I was  alone  and  if  I  could get  someone  there  as  soon  as  possible.  She  said  it  wasn't  looking  good.  They  had  intubated  him.  They  had  trouble  putting  the  tube  in  and  he  offered to  do  it  himself  (typicalFelix!). But it wasn't  enough.  They  were  currently  doing CPR  on  him. Then I was alone again in the waiting room.

Still alone, the ICU doctor came back again and said he didn't make it. She held me while I cried. Then I was alone again, charged with telling the world what we had all just lost.

For the past year, all of our energy and fundraising has gone to fighting cancer and providing Felix with ability to work on his artwork, visit his favorite places, see his favorite people and experience life in exactly the way a 28 year old should.

We lost Felix suddenly, so there are projects unfinished, people and places unseen. Felix was never one to ask for help, or even assume he deserved it… We know that he did, and he still does.

Between the remaining medical bills and the expense of memorial services, we must now ask for help on our dear Felix’s behalf. This is an opportunity to ensure that we can memorialize Felix in the fashion that he would have wanted.

There is nothing fair about how fast things can change, or the literal and figurative cost incurred with loosing someone. These things not only have a cost, they are each incredibly expensive: funerals, burials, cremation, transporting remains, and memorials. Felix wanted to spend his life in Concord, MA and we believe he would find value in being laid to rest near his ancestors.

We need to provide all of Felix’s friends and family the opportunity to say goodbye, so there will be services in both New York and Massachusetts. These services will be coming up soon, so we're needing to raise funds fast. If you have to ability to contribute financially to these processes and services, we ask that you please do so as soon as you can. His family simply cannot take on this financial burden on top of the grief of losing what was most valuable: Felix.

If you don’t have to ability to contribute financially, we urge you to take action by sharing this campaign, and sharing Felix’s story. We will be posting updates about the timing of services soon.

Cancer closed in around Felix’s heart, but it never limited his capacity for love.

We know he loves us. Let's make sure he knows we love him too.

We love him now, we’ll love him forever.

Donations ()

  • Johannes Marstad 
    • $20 
    • 12 mos
  • TY YEN 
    • $100 
    • 14 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 14 mos
  • Reba Phillippo 
    • $25 
    • 15 mos
  • Blake Anderson 
    • $100 
    • 15 mos
See all

Fundraising team: Team Felix (10)

Elizabeth Parise 
Organizer
Raised $9,194 from 58 donations
Westbury, NY
Kristin Westbrook 
Team member
Raised $5,628 from 57 donations
Eli Wood 
Team member
Raised $2,909 from 60 donations
Walter Holm 
Team member
Raised $1,025 from 12 donations
Rebekah Parise 
Team member
Raised $660 from 7 donations
See all
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