Ariel Fixler was a former film-marketing executive at two major film studios. She was also a successful matchmaker on her downtime. Ms. Fixler or “Fix”, as she was lovingly referred to by her friends, dramatically changed her life’s path. After her cancer diagnosis and a long term stay at a critical care and alternative therapy retreat, “Fix” formed her wellness company. The company was aptly named Fixed Naturally. The company performed marketing and social media work for companies in the wellness and holistic community nationwide from 2012-2014. The company was sold in the fall of 2014 to a non-profit wellness and event marketing firm.
Ariel was a stage IV cancer fighter dealing with tumors that originated in her adrenal gland and spread to her GI tract and kidney. She underwent multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiation and surgeries to remove infected organs where the cancer had spread. She was in a drug trial and given highly aggressive, experimental drugs and treatments including a liver dialysis regimen and rounds of immunotherapy. These treatments combined with experimental and multiple rounds of chemo led to liver failure after a brief remission. Under the supervision of her naturopath, she fought hard to build her immune system and find ways to extend her time in any way she could. These methods included holistic therapies, oxygen treatments, l-glutathione treatments, B-12, B complex shots or more.
Fix also was an advocate of reiki healing, lymphatic and colon hydrotherapy treatments at Provence Wellness Center. She also changed her eating habits to a plant based diet during treatments and underwent critical care detoxes at the Martha’s Vineyard critical care retreat. She also received frequent red blood cell and platelet transfusions at the hospital.
Ariel built the structure of her life by bringing people together through her free and successful matching (even while facing a terminal illness). She loved organizing events that brought together people and shined light on the creative arts. She founded programs at various New York City hospitals and long-term care facilities that encouraged self-expression. Using her relationships in the film industry, she sent patients to TV and film events. She created a film-screening program, where patients could have access to film screenings at their hospitals before the films even arrived at movie theaters. She got the film stars to join in the process when they held question and answer sessions with the patients. She was actively fundraising and was a reliable source of support. Some of the programs she supported included the American Cancer Society, Stand Up 2 Cancer, Michael J Fox Parkinson’s Foundation, The Blechman Foundation, Gift of Life, Roseann’s Gift, the Summer of Hope Foundation, Party at the Piers and basically any fundraiser Eli Lunzer supported.
Her goal in life was not to be platform or a face for illness. She wanted to a community builder and bridge barriers about a topic once regarded as taboo or hush hush. That topic was how to effectively support the chronically or terminally ill. She wanted to create this site as a free thinking forum for those want to support those diagnosed with chronic and critical illnesses. Ariel realized there wasn’t a comprehensive site with resources that addressed the supporters. The people who don’t know what to say, how to support effectively and how to conduct and prepare for a visit and provide aftercare. She believed that there was no comprehensive site that published resources for the ill AND also helped their support system be most effective emotionally and physically. When it came to the topic of disease, “Fix” was driven to repair the fragmented disconnect into a more connected community
These were her words regarding how she felt about life, illness and community building:
I wish for a future with more compassion in the universe. The ability to look inward as opposed to sending directives outward in the universe. This world seems to be growing in hostility and polarization and needs more positive energy. I really believe when people stop being passive and passive aggressive, we can stop and be real with one another in an open and honest manner, not shutting people down. We could really change the way we act and interact and really change the world with KINDNESS.
I hope the art of gratitude continues to gain ground. I found true comfort in the simple act of thanking someone for their outreach, sending gifts for weddings, births, birthdays, engagements and milestones. As my illness began to overtake me, I was more driven to use my time celebrating people’s moments from afar, making an effort to send tender notes and gifts to celebrate “their” moments. I found a new appreciation in the fine art of a “thank you” in whatever form. Moments of recognition of a small act of kindness left a big impression on me. Because I always felt a need to say how grateful I was for anything big or small. Expressions of gratitude in any form, warmed my heart in the biggest way.
I want to thank everyone who allowed me into their lives, into their hearts and let me see the best of ME in THEM. It’s only through everyone who came through my life did I have true healing moments. I want to sincerely thank my constant open and honest support system, you made my soul (neshama in Hebrew) SHINE THROUGH.
For those I didn’t get to have treasured moments with towards during my hospitalizations, home recovery, eventually hospice and ultimately palliative care, I still have love for you all. I became so sick and every visit made me sick because of my compromised immune system. I felt love in visits, but the visits were also met with pain, because my body rejected them. I was also angry at the world and I hated that I could no longer be that good old “positively positioned” Fixler. I was always happy for people, but a part of me was stuck in a sick cycle carousel of jealousy. The jealousy monster overtook me for being stuck, unable to move and breathe on my own. I was not able to participate in the outside world. My inside world was all I had. As time went on, that was no longer enough for me to subsist on for emotional and physical nourishment.
I wish for those I didn’t get time to make peace with there were words that could have quelled any tension, sadness and regret for all parties. To those who had any unresolved issues with me or anyone else I didn’t have final moments with I hope you all find peace in your own lives. There’s nothing worse than not be able to be open and closing down communication and relationships (by being unresponsive and silent in response to someone’s emotions). There is no powerful move or strength in trying to stop a dialogue before it had a chance to start.
I deeply wish there was more time, time to sit down and listen, time to speak up and truly come together. If anything, I always tried to be mindful of being the friend and family member people could respect. Looking in the mirror became harder over the years, seeing the decline of my features and a shrunken and swollen body (I barely recognized as my own). Even then, however, I looked into my eyes and saw a person I slowly began to respect with growing self-love. My goal in life was not to be an example of how to handle terminal or chronic illnesses. It was always to bring people together in every aspect of life. To form life long bonds and a true community.
The only resentment I have is the card I was dealt later in life. I wish I had been able to live the life I wanted to live, breath the clean crisp air I miss dearly and feel the sunshine on my face. I missed the seasons; I missed seeing the beauty in the small treasures that make life worth living. I truly missed the small moments that you keep with you for a lifetime. I ask everyone who has their health to really feel it as the greatest of life’s gifts. Use it, enjoy it, breathe life into other people, and use your mind and your thoughts to really make people feel kindness and warmth. There is far too much discomfort of all kinds in the world. Those mindful acts can make people re-think what is possible in their lives. Use your intelligence and your heart to change the way we view and act about illness and support.
Life can be beautiful if you just stop and look around you at the possibilities and people who draw you into their lives. I wish you all the same peace and comfort you gave me. And I hope you feel my presence around you.