Belfast Telegraph

Mourners hear Alexandra Johnston was 'brightest shining star who lit up lives'

'Our hearts will never be the same again' - moving tribute from teen's family

By Claire Williamson

The family of an teenager who lost a five-year battle with cancer have said their "hearts will never be the same again" as hundreds gathered for her funeral.

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

She had fought Ewing's sarcoma, a rare type of cancer that affects bones or the tissue around bones.

The cortege left the family home for 2.30pm Requiem Mass at St Columb's Church on Chapel Road in Londonderry, followed by burial at St Patrick's Church Cemetery in Claudy.

Hundreds of bikers weaved their way through Londonderry’s Waterside leading the teen to her funeral service.

Mourners packed into St Columbs Church to say their final farewells.

Parish priest Chris Ferguson said the teenager was the "brightest shining star who lit up the lives of those who knew her".

She was laid to rest in her home village of Claudy later on Sunday.

Ahead of the funeral Alexandra's dad Andre posted a moving tribute on the Facebook page where the family shared Alexandra's brave journey which touched the hearts of people around the world.

He said: "Today is going to be the hardest day of our lives but the strength our little Angel showed us all during her short life will get us all through.

Alexandra Johnston
Alexandra Johnston
A police motorcyclist salutes as the hearse carrying Alexandra Johnston arrives at St. Columb's Church in Derry on Sunday. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 21.01.18
Some of the hundreds of motorcyclists who accompanied the funeral cortege of Alexandra Johnston. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 21.01.18
Some of the hundreds of motorcyclists who accompanied the funeral cortege of Alexandra Johnston. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 21.01.18
The funeral of Alexandra Johnston in Derry on Sunday. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 21.01.18
Mourners at the funeral of Alexandra Johnston. PIcture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 21.01.18
The funeral of Alexandra Johnston in Derry on Sunday. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 21.01.18
Some of the hundreds of motorcyclists who accompanied the funeral cortege of Alexandra Johnston. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 21.01.18

"We will never let our baby girl be forgotten and her name will live on forever as was her wish.

"Alexandra was an Angel long before she was born and she is leaving this world a saint.

"Our hearts will never be the same again but you will keep them all strong with the memories you gave us and the impact you made on the world .

"Today is not goodbye but see you later Baby Girl

"We got this "

When diagnosed at the age of 11, Alexandra was given just three months to live, but the courageous youngster defied the odds.

The Claudy teenager celebrated her 16th birthday on New Year's Day and said she was "overwhelmed" after receiving more than 1,000 cards with messages of support and love from around the world.

Alexandra is survived by her parents Andre and Karen, sisters Danica and Carly, and brothers Ryan and Callum. In a death notice her grieving family described her as an "inspiration".

During her treatment Alexandra became a huge fan of the TV series Sons Of Anarchy.  At the beginning of last year she got to meet her hero from the TV series Opie played by Ryan Hurst.

The family were invited to meet the star at the Comic Con event in Wales and kept in touch afterwards.

He was among those paying tribute to the teenager after her death.

He said: "Travel with love YaYa. May you be free to live shining among the stars."

Belfast Telegraph

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