Brown family still smiling after birthday wish comes true in Brigden

Chris Brown watches his 15 minute birthday parade go by his Brigden home. Bluewater Health staff and Lambton emergency medical services arranged for him to be home briefly for his big day.

Chris Brown was still remembering a long line of friend-filled cars which drove past his Brigden home to wish him Happy Birthday. His wife, Stacey, is still remembering the smile on his face.

And it was all due to the work of Bluewater Health’s Palliative Care team and Lambton paramedics.

On April 21, Brown was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He was in a London hospital for a few days in early May and then at home until May 12. Now, he’s on the palliative care floor at Bluewater Health. Only Stacey and Brown’s sister, Joanne, may visit because of COVID-19 restrictions.

But Brown wanted to be home for his birthday. So, Sunday, Lambton paramedics and Bluewater Health worked to get him home for an hour and-a-half.

The first 40 minutes were reserved for close family and friends including his two sons, Devon and Riley, who have not been able to see him in the hospital.

“Everyone had one on one time with Chris. Even though it wasn’t along time I think everyone including Chris enjoyed himself,” she says.

Then the paramedics took Chris to the end of the driveway where a tent had been set up to wait for the parade.

“All the cars started in the parking lot at the Brigden fair building parking lot and headed towards our house. The front of the line was a Brigden fire truck as Chris used to be a volunteer a few years ago,” says Stacey. And the sight of the long line of friends brought a big smile to Chris’ face.

“Then the line just kept coming and coming – more than 100 cars that had signs, cards , a few gifts and lots of love. The smile on his face is something that no one is going to forget,” she says

“Even today he is still talking about all the cars as long as he could see. His dream for coming home for his birthday was answered.

“Maybe it was not how we all wanted it, but we all needed that one-and-a half hours.”

Few in Brigden are surprised by the outpouring of love on a rainy day. Ilene Struck, Jess Houghton and Amy Beynon of Parallel Junction have been fundraising for the family.

Struck says the Brown family has always been there for the community and it is time for the community to be there for them. “Anytime there was a benefit for a community member, Stacey is the first person to hop up and offer to help. Chris was with the fire department, and he never thought twice, they just jumped in.”

Struck says the store is selling Koozies with the Brown name on it and doing a 50/50 draw to raise money to help the family get through this tough time. When the shop reopened Tuesday, Struck says selling the items was practically the only business they did.

Stacey says the community support has been “amazing.” And she adds the family is very grateful to the hospital and the paramedics for making Brown’s birthday wish come true.

You can see the nearly 15 minute parade below.