Johnston family’s emotional tribute to the late Alexandra

The late Alexandra Johnston pictured with her proud parents Karen and Andre . DER1317-103KM
The late Alexandra Johnston pictured with her proud parents Karen and Andre . DER1317-103KM

The father of Alexandra Johnston, who passed away last week after a lengthy battle with cancer, has paid tribute to his daughter and thanked the medical staff who cared for her during her last days.

Andre Johnston posted a message on the Facebook site which was set up so that people could follow his daughter’s journey through illness. The page ‘Just keep swimming Yaya’ is now a tribute to ‘YaYa’ as she was affectionately known by her family and friends.

Andre Johnston said he hoped people would continue to post memories and photos of Alexandra on the page.

He said his family had been overwhelmed by the attendance at Alexandra’s funeral.

He added: “What a send off our Baby Girl had. 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 .

“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.”

Mr. Johnston singled out Alexandra’s medical team for praise.

He added: “We would like to thank each and every one who has been part of the journey for the last four and a half years, especially Doctor 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 allowed Karen and I to see our baby girl go from a young 11-years-old girl to a stunning, strong , inspirational, brave 16-years-old lady.”

Mr. Johnston also gave heartbreaking details of his daughter’s selfless attitude during the final hours of her life.

“When Alexandra was in ward 6 of Altnagelvin in her last few hours her mum and I got a bit upset, and as we left the room she turned to her sister Danica and said ‘That would break your heart.”

He said Alexandra was always caring for everyone else and added that he and Alexandra’s mother Karen and their four children would now take a break in order to have some time alone.

In a poignant signing off on the tribute site, he said: “Time for us to keep swimming now.”