Libby Smith: Family pay tribute to Yorkshire teen who spent 18th birthday in intensive care

Tributes have been pouring in to an incredible young Yorkshire woman who touched hearts across the world.

Libby Smith, who died last week just a few days after her 18th birthday, was a “bubbly and lively” teenager who was engaged to her childhood sweetheart, Leon Abott.

She grew up and lived in Hemsworth, West Yorkshire, attending Ackworth Howard Junior and Infants School and, when she was well enough, Carleton High School.

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She also had many friends in Halifax, where her father Adrian Smith lives.

Libby Smith died just days after her birthdayLibby Smith died just days after her birthday
Libby Smith died just days after her birthday

She enjoyed shopping, theme parks and eating out, and doted on her dog Teddy Bear - a white mini Pomeranian.

By studying from home, she had achieved beauty industry qualifications and, despite her young age, had been running her own beauty business.

Libby courageously battled juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) - a rare condition which she was diagnosed with when she was five.

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She had undergone countless operations and, in July last year, a bone marrow transplant.

Libby with her mother, DianeLibby with her mother, Diane
Libby with her mother, Diane
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“Libby never complained,” said Adrian. “She just wanted to make sure everyone else was OK.”

“She was so brave,” added Adrian’s partner, Sarah Morrison. “Every day she was in pain but she always had a smile on her face.”

Libby was admitted to hospital at the end of January with breathing difficulties and was ventilated on life support four times. The last time she came off the ventilator was on her 18th birthday on February 25, when her family gave her “the best birthday possible” in the intensive care unit.

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Libby Smith with her dad Adrian Smith and his partner SarahLibby Smith with her dad Adrian Smith and his partner Sarah
Libby Smith with her dad Adrian Smith and his partner Sarah

“She was a special girl,” said Sarah. “She had thousands of supporters including people from all over the world. She has touched so many people’s hearts.”

Libby’s parents - Adrian and Diane - together with their partners - Sarah and Mark - Libby’s sister Felicity, step-sister Alicia and fiance Leon are planning a funeral for Libby which will sum up their treasured girl - “beautiful and always positive regardless”.

A fundraiser has been launched to give her “the very best send off possible and the 18th birthday party she so deserved” and hundreds of donations have already been made. To donate, click here.

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