Félix Junquera Tejeda (2000-2017)

Fèlix was one of 24 students in the Crazy About Biomedicine programme in 2017.

Fèlix was one of 24 students in the Crazy About Biomedicine programme in 2017.


The IRB Barcelona community is mourning the loss of one of its youngest and brightest members. Fèlix Junquera Tejeda, a student at Fedac Horta school and member of the 2016-2017 Crazy About Biomedicine programme, passed away on June 1 at the age of 17.

Fèlix's introduction to the world of biomedical research came about unexpectedly with a diagnosis of sarcoma at the age of 13. From an unfortunate situation, Félix found inspiration. He became an active volunteer, participating in KIDS Barcelona, an advisory group of patients who worked with hospital staff in order to improve pediatric patient care the Hospital Sant Joan de Déu, where he was being treated. He also sat on the Youth Council of the International Children Advisory Network, through which he attended world summits focused on giving patients and families a voice in health, research, medicine and innovation. These initiatives gave Felix the opportunity to participate in workshops in biomedicine, clinical trials, and innovation, awakening in him a true passion for research.

"I just wish to do more," he wrote when applying to the Crazy About Biomedicine programme, "I want learn new concepts and have the chance to participate in a real research project. I know it will be an unforgettable experience."

Fèlix was a shining star among the Crazy About Biomedicine community, and stood out for his remarkable curiosity, resolute perseverance and true desire to learn, as well as his unwavering positive outlook on life.

In many, many ways, he will serve as an important inspiration for the entire IRB Barcelona community.

A fellow Crazy classmate has written this touching tribute to Félix.

 

I remember Fèlix as a fascinating, kind, bright, intelligent, and strong young man, full of enthusiasm and vitality. I paired up with him in a talk about peptides, in which the teacher Mark McCully asked us to come up with the design of a nanoparticle for biomedical purposes, such as transporting a drug to the cancer cells of a tumour. Felix’s drive to go beyond finding the perfect particle and his tenacity with respect to envisaging and exploring new approaches made me feel very proud to be able to share these moments with him. During the months that we were seeing each other almost every Saturday, I had the opportunity to find out many things about him that will remain with me forever, such as the need to fight and stand up to the difficulties life throws at you and the importance of never losing hope. He held onto these principles until the end. His face always had a smile and his bright eyes never lost their expression of joy and desire to live. Fèlix was—and still is in the hearts of all those who were fortunate enough to know him—a young man of incredible strength and courage, one of those people who leave a lasting impression. In my eyes, Fèlix was so strong and so brave, though this may sound strange given his serious illness. Until that fateful Friday when we found out he had died, it hadn’t occurred to me that he would be gone from our lives so soon. I was in shock. I couldn’t believe it. Until that day, I’d been convinced that Felix would recover and go on to live the life that he so deserved. Unfortunately, it was not to be. Fèlix, I know that if you’d been given more time, you’d have gone on to become a great scientist and an even better man. I had the incredible good fortune to be able to call you a friend and nobody can take that away from me. Fèlix, I want to say thank you for everything you have been. Thank you for lighting up the lives of those of us privileged to have known you, if only for a short time. Thank you for everything my friend.

Ivet Palomera

 

 

[Original text:]

Recordo en Fèlix com un noi apassionat, bondadós, brillant, intel·ligent, fort, carregat d'il·lusió i vitalitat... Ell va ser el meu company d'idees el dia de la xerrada sobre pèptids, en la qual el professor, en Mark McCully, ens va demanar que per parelles penséssim el disseny d'una nanopartícula destinada a fins biomèdics, com podia ser transportar un medicament determinat a les cèl·lules canceroses d'un tumor que així es volgués tractar. La increïble voluntat d'en Fèlix d'anar més i més enllà  per trobar la partícula perfecta i la seva tenacitat alhora d'idear i explorar nous camins em  van fer sentir tan orgullosa i afortunada de poder compartir amb ell tots aquests pensaments  i tants altres... Durant els mesos que ens vam estar veient pràcticament cada dissabte, vaig poder aprendre moltes coses d'ell que sé que m'acompanyaran tota la vida, com la necessitat de lluitar i mantenir-se ferm davant les dificultats de la vida i la importància de no perdre mai l'esperança, coses que ell va aplicar fins al final.  I és que el somriure no va deixar mai els seus llavis, ni l'alegria ni les ganes de viure van desaparèixer mai d'aquells ulls tant brillants que tenia. En Fèlix era, i encara és, als cors de tots aquells que vam tenir la sort de  conèixer-lo, un noi de fortalesa i enteresa formidables, una persona d'aquelles tan úniques que et deixen la memòria marcada per sempre amb el seu record bategant. En Fèlix era tan fort i tan valent als meus ulls que, encara que pugui semblar estrany degut a la seva greu malaltia, fins aquell divendres tan fatídic que vam saber de la seva mort, no se m'havia passat pel cap ni que fos un sol cop la possibilitat de perdre'l tan aviat... Em vaig quedar en estat de xoc, no m'ho creia. Fins aquell dia no havia tingut cap dubte que en Fèlix ho superaria tot i tiraria endavant per viure la vida que tant es mereixia. Malauradament, no va poder ser així... Sé que d'haver gaudit de més temps haguessis esdevingut un gran científic i un home encara millor, Fèlix. He tingut la increïble sort de poder-te dir amic i això no m'ho podrà treure mai ningú. Per tot el que eres i ets, gràcies, Fèlix. Gràcies per il·luminar amb la teva llum les vides dels afortunats que et vam conèixer encara que fos per un breu temps. Gràcies per tot, amic.

Ivet Palomera