Belfast Telegraph

She is determined to win, say family of teen in third cancer battle

By Claire Williamson

A family have been left devastated after learning their teenage daughter's cancer has returned for the third time.

Alexandra Johnston from Londonderry is fighting Ewing's sarcoma - a rare cancer of the bone or in soft tissue.

The brave 15-year-old has had cancer in almost every part of her body.

She astounded medical staff with her recovery after initially being given only six months to live following her first diagnosis.

Alexandra underwent 30 rounds of chemotherapy last year, and the family were overjoyed in December to learn that she had beaten the disease for a second time.

However, recent aches and pains prompted an MRI scan, and the family received the heartbreaking news that the disease had returned, this time in her back and the right-hand side of her pelvis.

Mum Karen told the Belfast Telegraph Alexandra was ready to fight it again, and paid tribute to her indomitable spirit.

She said: "She has had a slight touch of being short of breath, so the doctors don't know if it's in her lungs or active in any other part of her body.

"We have scans on Tuesday and are meeting the doctor to see what the plan of action is and what route we are going to go down."

The family say they are "gutted" by the news but will be exploring all treatment options available to them.

"There are a couple of trial drugs in a couple of different countries and we might have to do something like that, but we just don't know," Karen added.

"We are absolutely gutted, but she just keeps us going... she is determined she is going to beat it again - what else can you do?"

The family are trying to get Alexandra to rest as much as possible in the meantime.

Karen said: "It's awful. When she started taking the pains a couple of weeks ago we thought 'here we go again'. We were kind of prepared.

She knows her own body and had said to us: 'I think this is back, mum'."

Alexandra's unrelenting determination is keeping the family going. "She is out there and that's the one thing she will do, she'll fight again," Karen added.

"She didn't get very long in remission. We just hope and pray that God has a different plan for her.

"The last time Alexandra relapsed she said: 'Now is my chance to get my body ready for the next time'. Please God she keeps it up like that."

During her treatment Alexandra became a huge fan of the TV series Sons Of Anarchy.

As a treat her family organised a special surprise.

A video - that has been viewed online by thousands of people - captured the moment 30 bikers arrived outside her home to wish her well.

Meanwhile, in November she received a video call from Sons Of Anarchy star Theo Rossi, who plays Juan Carlos 'Juice' Ortiz. A video of the call was shot by Alexandra's father, showing how thrilled the youngster was to speak with one of her heroes.

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