Belfast Telegraph

Dad's tribute to his 'superstar' after daughter Alexandra dies of cancer at 16

By Claire Williamson

The father of an inspirational teenager who lost her battle with cancer has poignantly said she came into the world a star and left "the same, only a lot brighter".

Alexandra Johnston (16) passed away last week in the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children surrounded by her family.

The teenager from Claudy in Co Londonderry had fought Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare type of cancer that affects bones or the tissue around bones.

Alexandra - or YaYa as she was affectionately known - touched the hearts of people around the world as her family shared her brave journey on their Facebook page.

Hundreds of people attended her funeral on Sunday where she was described as "a superstar, a hero, a princess and a saint".

In a moving message yesterday, her dad Andre paid tribute to his daughter's legacy and told how much comfort they had drawn from the support of the public.

He wrote: "All we can say is wow, what a send-off our baby girl had - last time I saw the town close down like Sunday was for Bill Clinton.

"We are still in shock and taking things day by day, but to see the turnout and tributes paid to Yaya has given us so much comfort."

He added: "Alexandra came into this world a star and she left it in the same manner, only a lot brighter; stories and tales of her life will live forever and we hope people get great comfort from the way she held herself and cared for everyone through her illness."

The family said they will keep the Facebook page open for people to continue sharing memories of the courageous teenager.

"We as a family still can not find the words to describe Alexandra and the way she lived her life and swam through every obstacle with that special smile on her face," Mr Johnston said.

"Our wee woman will not and can not be forgotten and she asked that her name is kept going and that is exactly what will happen. The page will continue to be open as a place for people to share photos and tales of our YaYa. We will continue to get great comfort from them."

Andre thanked everyone who has been part of the journey.

He said: "Especially Dr Johnston and all the medical team who worked so hard for YaYa and actually gave her four and a half years with us all to make magic memories and for Karen and I to see our baby girl go from a young 11-year-old girl to a stunning, strong, inspirational, brave 16-year-old lady."

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