'I'm very proud to say she was my daughter'
LLANELLI'S Sue Johns will be remembered as a kind and caring person, who took life's hurdles in her stride.
Touching tributes have been paid to the 50-year-old, of Ty'r Fran Avenue, who died on Saturday after a hard-fought and courageous battle with breast cancer.
Ms Johns was diagnosed with the disease in 2009, and chose to share her ups and downs with the world through a column in the Llanelli Star in a bid to help other sufferers through the heartache and to make them feel less alone.
Her mum Jill said: "Sue would always put others first, and was one of life's givers.
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"She would never grumble or ask 'why me?' while she was going through all of this.
"She did it her own way, and with a heart of gold.
"I'm very proud to say she was my daughter."
Ms Johns was brought up near Croydon, before moving to Brighton with her mum and then to Llanelli around seven years ago.
An avid sports fan, Ms Johns supported Chelsea FC, and was delighted to have a birthday cake of her favourite team at her 50th birthday party last November. "She loved football," her mum said. "Even though she supported Chelsea, if Wales were playing she would have her Welsh kit on, and if England were playing she'd have her English kit on.
"Once, she was due to have an operation and she told Simon Holt, the consultant, that she couldn't possibly come in because England were playing.
"She had a wicked sense of humour — very dry, but wicked. Just last week she was giving her brother grief about her potato plants, asking him to sort them out."
Hospital appointments became a regular feature in Ms Johns's life, and she soon got to know the staff at PPH's breast care unit.
Family friend Jan Davies said: "She thought of the staff as her friends. Every time she went in there we were called the Three Amigos.
"She had a lot of confidence going in there because she had so much faith in the staff. She really supported the unit and tried her best to raise money for it when she could.
"She was always thinking of charities and other people." Ms Johns's lasting legacy will be the regular column she penned for the Star, which made its way around the UK as readers sent it on to family members and friends.
And Jill said her daughter gained a great deal from sharing her experiences.
"Sue found it helped her to write her feelings down," she said. "She said it was therapeutic because when you're with people sometimes you can't be completely honest about things face to face because you don't want to upset them. When she writes, she expresses herself without having to worry.
"It was a relief for her to write about how she felt."
In June, Ms Johns was presented with the Llanelli Star Editor's Choice award in recognition of her bravery.
At the time, Mr Holt said: "That Sue has remained so selflessly positive, determined and practical when things are not straightforward or simple shows huge bravery and should be an example to us all."
For details of funeral arrangements, see page 48.