The “red-headed warrior” who captured the hearts of people throughout the region died March 16.

Now, heaven has a “red-headed angel.” 

Father and mother, Peter and Jeannie Westby with daughters Haley and the late Faith­–who’s medical challenges have served as an inspiration for the Pelican area community, and beyond. Funeral services will be held Saturday, March 23, 1:00 p.m. at the Pelican Rapids High School Leaders Gymnasium.

16-year-old Faith Westby, passed away  at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota with her family by her side. 

Larson Funeral Home in Pelican Rapids, which is handling arrangements, posted a plea for everybody to keep the Westby family in their thoughts and prayers as they plan a celebration of Faith’s  life.

Faith Westby’s health challenges have been watched by thousands of folks in the area–and beyond–and she served as an inspiration for all. 

“Faith is now safe in the arms of Jesus, healed and pain free. We will always remember the spirit and spunk of this red haired angel. Prayers for strength for her family as they miss Faith and begin their grief journey,” wrote Sue Magnussen McCracken, in one of dozens of social media posts, as the news spread on Sunday.  

The Pelican Rapids student was born with Kabuki Syndrome, a genetic mutation that left her with a range of health issues and learning disabilities. The rare disorder affects multiple parts of the body.

Her fellow students at Pelican Rapids elementary and high school displayed many  shows of support over the past several years. 

Faith, whose favorite color purple has been seen everywhere in the Pelican area, underwent a liver transplant in summer 2017.

Faith has faced both victories and setbacks during her recovery from the transplant, including complications with rejection of the transplanted organ.  Her body rejected the liver five times. 

At one time, doctors didn’t think she’d live longer than 3 years. She thived, thanks to a supportive family and broader community, to 16 years old–and she continued fighting to the end. 

Her many friends, fellow students and the public at large helped  Faith in her struggle, with fundraisers and campaigns with slogans like “Anything’s Possible with Faith,” and “Faith over Fear.”  One t-shirt promotion alone raised nearly $5,000 for the Westby family. 

“Faith Forever” is the revised slogan, as the greater Pelican area community remembers the red-headed angel.