'Her death hit us all very hard'; Alexa Cannon remembered for putting others above herself

Cannon was a psychology student who enjoyed photography and loved dogs

ROANOKE, Va. – The loss of Alexa Cannon is not only being felt in Radford, but in Roanoke as well.

The pastor of her church, Second Presbyterian Church, in Roanoke, spoke on behalf of her family who still attends the church.

Dr. George Anderson, senior pastor, knew Alexa her entire life and said she was enthusiastic about helping others and always found a way to live in a positive way. He said she was a wonderful girl with a great spirit. 

PHOTOS: Remembering Alexa Cannon

"I have been the pastor here 21 years. So I baptized her as an infant and watched her grow up since then right here in this congregation," said Anderson. 

Details of Thursday's tragic events in Radford are still unfolding. Anderson said worshipers and the whole community are coming together in support of the Cannon family and each other. 

"Her death hit us all very hard. It hit me. I'm just one of many," said Anderson 

Alexa was very active in school, the community and at church. 

"She went on two Dominican Republic mission trips with our church. She was looking forward to a travel experience in Spain. A study abroad experience where she could practice her Spanish. She had her physical issues to deal with, but she had a life ahead of her that she was excited to live," said Anderson. 

He said she had the spiritual gift of empathy and was able to relate to others when they were having difficulties. 

"She was so enthusiastic about helping others that even when she had the most difficult day, somehow, she had the ability to put others needs ahead of her own. She overcame a good number of challenges in her own life. She was diagnosed with epilepsy at a young age and she dealt with that issue her whole life. But she lived forward in a positive way and didn't let anything get in the way," said Anderson.

"A quote that Alexa had on her wall at home means a great deal to the family. It says 'Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about dancing in the rain,' The family loves that quote because their desire is to, in Kathy, the mother's words... hold Alexa up in light and love," said Anderson.

"Alexa was the sweetest and one of the most grateful women (I've) ever had the pleasure of working with," said Amanda McDaniel Campbell at Zee's Salon and Day Spa. 

One of her former teachers, Martha Jane Witten, said she never saw Alexa without a smile on her face. She was a hard worker and very dedicated to her future plans.