Lakeland, Florida -- With incredible strength, the family of Sierra Johnson on Friday talked about the girl they loved so dearly for 17 years.
"When we got the news that we lost her, it was devastating," Sierra's father Curt Johnson told reporters gathered at Lakeland Regional Medical Center.
But there were more smiles than tears at the news conference as Curt and his wife Suzanne recalled the talented singer and the jokester nicknamed Bubbles.
"There was no one on earth with more zeal for life than Sierra Johnson," Curt said.
Sierra was critically injured in a rollover accident last Saturday morning. She and others from her church were on the way to Orlando to see a Christian Rock Concert, when a tire blew on the van.
Sierra suffered massive brain trauma, but her family is thankful that she stayed alive long enough for them to say goodbye. Through the media and a Facebook page, people from around the world also learned about her faith and offered their prayers. Sierra's parents say that was all a part of God's plan for their daughter.
"The miracle that took place is that he kept her alive five more days; five days for that little girl to get around the world," marveled Curt.
Suzanne says she is also comforted by Sierra's giving spirit--she was an organ donor.
"Up to 170 people are going to get better because of Sierra," said Suzanne, her voice cracking with emotion.
But at a time when many families would crumble under the weight of grief, this one speaks out to thank a community for its support, to share their faith, and to honor a girl called home.
"She stands with Jesus-she's happy," said Suzanne. "We're the ones who have to suffer the loss."
A memorial service for Sierra is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 21 at 6 p.m. at Woodland Community Church in Bradenton.