Family shares heartbreak at death of teenager Libby Smith within days of her 18th birthday

Tributes have been pouring in for an incredible young Hemsworth woman who touched hearts across the world.
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Libby Smith, who died just a few days after her 18th birthday last week, was described as a “bubbly and lively” teenager.

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

Libby Smith with her mum, Diane.Libby Smith with her mum, Diane.
Libby Smith with her mum, Diane.
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She had undergone countless operations and a bone marrow transplant in July last year.

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

“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 Smith with her dad, Adrian Smith, and his partner, Sarah.Libby Smith with her dad, Adrian Smith, and his partner, Sarah.
Libby Smith with her dad, Adrian Smith, and his partner, Sarah.
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Engaged to childhood sweetheart Leon Abott, Libby grew up in Hemsworth. She attended Ackworth Howard Junior and Infants School and, while she was well enough, Carleton High School.

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

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.

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

Also helping them with the arrangements are Libby’s sister, Felicity; her step-sister Alicia, and her fiancé, Leon.

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.

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