Manchester teen featured in hospital's lip-sync video dies of cancer
MANCHESTER -- Being interviewed on CNN was OK, but not nearly as cool to Maggie Philbrook as appearing on Buzzfeed.
The 13-year-old, who died Saturday, had a prominent role in a video of patients at Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock lip-syncing the Katy Perry hit "Roar."
The video drew nearly 4 million views on YouTube, and made the Manchester teenager an unexpected celebrity at a time when her family said she could use an emotional lift.
The video has been updated with comments bidding farewell to Maggie, who had a rare form of cancer.
"She was amazing. I'm very happy that she's leaving this kind of legacy," said Moira Byrne-Philbrook, Maggie's mother. "She had a lot of fun with it. We just never expected it to become as big as it did when it was released."
Maggie was one of the first patients featured in the video, mouthing the opening words from a hospital bed while wearing a stocking cap and tie-dyed "New Hampshire" shirt. She appeared in several more scenes of the ensemble lip-syncing, which touched viewers with the images of children faced with life-threatening illnesses showing more fight than fear.
Already a fan of the song, Maggie was thrilled when the producers asked if she wanted to be part of the video shoot at CHaD last fall.
"It was a fabulous way to get over the hump and that last hurdle as she finished her chemotherapy," her mother said. "It came about at a really nice time in her year of treatment."
The video's rapid popularity prompted news stories, including a call to be interviewed on CNN's "Piers Morgan Live."
The interview was done via satellite; someone taped a headshot of Morgan to the camera so Maggie and a friend who was also part of the video would know who they were talking to. After the interview, the family took a photo of Maggie posing with "Piers," hamming it up with a huge grin.
The video continued to make the news, appearing on the popular website Buzzfeed on Oct. 22.
"When she saw it was on Buzzfeed, she went crazy," Byrne-Philbrook recalled. "There was so much attention," she said. "Through all of it, she really was content to just be Maggie." Calling hours are scheduled for Friday at Lambert Funeral Home, 1799 Elm St., Manchester, from 3 to 8 p.m.
Donations to the Philbrook family can be made at: www.gofundme.com/6iu2o0