THE mother of a seven-year-old who passed away after suffering from a rare brain condition has paid tribute to her daughter.
Heather Morrison died surrounded by her family at home in Dringhouses, York, three years after she was diagnosed with Batten Disease.
Heather was a bright and lively baby and toddler, but her speech failed to develop as expected and when she was four her family was told that Heather had the incurable neuro-degenerative disorder which only affects 200 children in the UK.
As the condition progressed it meant Heather gradually lost her ability to walk, eat, see or communicate.
Earlier this year, a community effort was held to raise funds towards a specially adapted vehicle to allow the Hob Moor Oaks pupil to be transported by her parents Becky and Brian and to go on days out with her three sisters.
Mrs Morrison said: “Heather was such a happy baby and toddler, always laughing and her physical skills were amazing – she walked before she was nine months old and had fantastic ball skills.
“Heather is at peace now, she’s not suffering any more and in a way, she is back to how she was before she became poorly.
“In the beginning [when she was diagnosed] we were as clueless as each other. I thought we all just tried to deal with it with humour. Even though things were difficult at points we would always think of something better or something to aim for.
“Heather was very funny. She had a good personality and laughed a lot.”
Jan Gamble, Heather’s grandmother, said: “She was a special little girl and she enriched my life in the short time she was with us.”
Mrs Morrison said the fundraising, supported by numerous people and organisations, had meant a lot to them and allowed them to spend more quality time together as a family.
She said: “The fundraising made a great deal of difference. We would never have afforded that. You often feel quite isolated and when people help it makes you feel you are not quite as isolated as you thought.”
She also thanked Batten Disease Family Association and staff at Martin House children’s hospice, in Wetherby, who she said gave them invaluable support.
Heather passed away after suffering from an infection.
Her funeral was held on Friday at York Crematorium. The family asked for donations instead of flowers, to Martin House Hospice.