'She wouldn't want sympathy or to be remembered as the cancer patient' - mum's tearful tribute to brave schoolgirl who shared illness battle
The funeral of teenager Rebecca Haughey has taken place, with her devastated mother and sister leading mourners at the heartbreaking service.
Mum Colette and her daughter Lisa fought back tears as the coffin was carried from St Patrick's Church in Derrymacash yesterday morning, while pals from St Catherine's College, Armagh, where Rebecca was in sixth form, formed a guard of honour.
A JustGiving fundraising page set up by Ms Haughey just hours after her daughter lost her brave fight with cancer had by last night received over £1,200, with donations going to CLIC Sargent.
In an emotional tribute to her daughter on the fundraising page, Ms Haughey highlighted her daughter's "strength, determination and relentless hope" in her bid to beat the disease.
She said her "positivity was infectious and anyone who knew her could see this straight away".
She added: "Rebecca would want to be remembered, not as the 'cancer patient' - she wouldn't want sympathy - but instead would want everyone to remember her for being herself, for her personality and the love she had for her family, friends, and anyone she met.
"There were a lot of charities that supported us as a family over the last two years, from Friends of the Cancer Centre (Renee Reid our Clinical Nurse Specialist), Cancer Fund for Children (Lynn our Community Specialist), Boom foundation and more - from the bottom of our hearts, we can't thank you enough.
"We want to thank CLIC Sargent in particular, which provided us with Simon Darby our social worker, who was there from day one to support us, listen to us and help us where needed."
Ms Haughey said the charity provided her with accommodation near Belfast City Hospital, so she was only a few minutes from Rebecca as she received her gruelling cancer treatments.
"Without CLIC Sargent and the other charities, our experience would have been very different," she added.
Rebecca, the daughter of Ms Haughey and the late Owen Haughey, died peacefully at Belfast City Hospital last Thursday - less than seven weeks after doctors told her she was no longer responding to treatment the way they would have wanted.
Days after the devastating news Rebecca took to Facebook to update her friends and vowed to continue fighting.
In an inspirational message posted on July 25, which prompted countless messages of support, she said her consultant had told her there was very little she could do to halt the cancer.
"I was basically just told that I was going to die," said Rebecca.
"All I could say was: 'No. This can't be happening. No. There has to be something you could do. No. No. No. You need to do something. I need to do something. We can't let this happen. I'm not going to die. I need to do something'.
"I went straight into problem solving mode. That news gave me the kick up the backside I needed to make me more determined than ever to succeed. To beat this ruddy cancer that had taken over my life. I was determined to see the end of this."
She added: "It's going to be a long, difficult journey ahead but through Hell or high water, I'm going to get through it all and prove to my consultant that this will not beat me."