Saffie, a devoted fan of pop singer Ariana Grande, had gone to the concert with her older sister, Ashlee Roussos, and mother, Lisa Roussos. Both were injured by the bomb blast. Lisa is still recovering from her injuries in hospital.
Saffie’s father, Andrew Roussos, Ashlee and brother Xander spoke to the BBC about the night she died and the joy she brought to their lives.
“We couldn’t be out with Saffie without having fun,” said Andrew. “But her dream was to be famous. It was her everything and we bought her the tickets for Christmas. She was just counting the days, the seconds.”
And even after suffering injuries that were eventually fatal, they compared Saffie to a soldier, fighting on through the pain.
The family recalled the moment of the May 22 blast that claimed several lives.
“As soon as the blast went off, I mean to me, I kind of just knew. I don’t know how, but I sort of, I knew what happened,” said Ashlee.
“We were sitting there, for just a few minutes, and didn’t hear anything. But just hell broke loose,” said her father. “People, children, screaming, crying. And then as I turned around the corner I saw Ashlee outside, injured.”
The Roussos said celebrating her birthday is just one way they are coping and keeping Saffie’s memory alive.
“We didn’t want to just let her birthday pass,” said her father. “We’ve lost everything. We have. Because life will never be the same.”
— With files from Reuters