GORDO, Ala. (WIAT) — Family and friends gathered in Gordo on Wednesday morning to say a final farewell to 23-year-old Libby Hankins.
Hankins passed away Friday after a long battle with Cystic Fibrosis. At age 2, Hankins was diagnosed with the life-threatening disease that affects the lungs and digestive system.
The funeral service for Libby was held at the Gordo High School football field to pay tribute to her career at the school. Abigail Lesley is one of Hankins closest friends. She says being at the funeral was painful.
“In my mind, I am thinking just how happy she is now and she can breathe easy on her own,” Lesley said. “And she is now in heaven with all her friends who have passed and all her loved ones. She doesn’t have to suffer anymore.”
A Facebook Group, called Lungs for Libby, was started before Hankins received her new lungs to keep her many friends and family updated on her condition. Gordo Mayor Craig Patterson says Libby was an inspirational person that touched so many lives.
“She was a person that faced adversity with a smile and that adversity built her character even though her body weakened,” Patterson said. “Her character and personality just grew.”
After high school, Hankins attended the University of West Alabama. Friends describe her as a good student, and she was a cheerleader and the homecoming queen.
Hankins’s dream was to become a teacher. Lesley says she is glad she got to know Libby over the years.
“I want people to know what a bubbly full of life girl she was no matter what she was going through,” Lesley said. “She always had a smile on her face and never complained, and she loved everyone she came into contact with and showed love to everybody.”
More than 400 people attended the funeral service.