DALLAS - Family members of the Garland woman who gained worldwide attention with dance videos during chemo say her inspirational spirit and legacy will live on.
Ana-Alecia Ayala was an inspiration to many who admired her strength and positivity as she fought hard for her life.
Her “Juju on That Beat” video started it all. The 32-year-old mother of a 3-year-old was in a hospital gown in October on day 2 of 4 days of intensive chemo after being diagnosed with a rare form of uterine cancer. She died on Tuesday.
Ayala vowed not to let it get her down and took to social media with positivity and humor.
Ayala's three sisters and her husband say they knew the cancer was growing resistant to chemo, but her passing still seemed sudden.
“I'm not sure all of us really knew or her doctors really knew exactly where she was,” said her sister, Angelica Fernandez-Fountain. “I mean she had such a rare form of cancer that there's not a lot known about it.”
FOX4 was there in late November when Ayala and her family were invited as special guests to the Jingle Ball and met Meghan Trainor and danced with the Backstreet Boys.
“My cheeks hurt from smiling right now, I'm so excited!” Ayala said after meeting Trainor. “She's so sweet, and she's so nice.”
Ayala’s sister, Victoria Fernandez, says she drew strength from everyone who followed her fight.
“She had all of this attention. She had all of these eyes on her and all of these people reaching out and praying for her,” Fernandez said. “And that was a really, really good positive distraction for her.”
“She loved talking to people. She loved sharing her story. I don't think there was anything that she didn't share with people,” said Fernandez-Fountain. “And I think it helped her fight harder. Not only was she fighting for her daughter and her family, but now there were all these other eyes watching.”
Ayala’s sisters say her legacy will live on: her beautiful daughter and that fighting spirit that touched so many.
“She would say, ‘I want people to see what this is really like, what this is really about. And this is not going to get me,’” Fernandez-Fountain said. “It's really hard to see people say that she lost a battle because we don't feel like she lost anything.”
“She didn't leave this world a loser,” said Fernandez. “She fought a very courageous fight. And she fought till the very end.”
The family says they are making funeral arrangements. They say their biggest concern is Ayala’s daughter and have set up a GoFundMe account for her.