A NORTHWICH mum is hoping to raise awareness of a rare disease that claimed the life of her much loved daughter.

Dawn Hunt, who lives in Winnington, lost her 24-year-old daughter Laura on June 27 this year, with the disease going undiagnosed for the first 21 years of her life.

With the support of her local ward councillors and the town's MP Dawn wants to highlight the impact mitochondrial disease can have on those diagnosed with it and their families.

Mitochondrial disease, or mito for short, is a genetic disorder affecting the mitochondria – the ‘battery packs’ in our cells. When they fail to produce enough energy, damage occurs – especially to the major organs. It is one of the most common genetic conditions, is progressive and can be life-limiting and there is currently there is no treatment or cure.

Northwich Guardian: Laura wasn't diagnosed with miochondrial disease until she was 21

Laura wasn't diagnosed with mitochondrial disease until she was 21

In raising awareness of the disease Dawn hopes it will help others in the same position as her, but also act as a fitting tribute to Laura, who she describes as 'an inspiration'.

"Laura wasn't diagnosed until she was almost 22," Dawn said.

"I'd always resigned myself to the fact that we were never going to get a diagnosis.

"The sad thing is, by the time it came, Laura was that poorly, she couldn't really do anything for herself anymore.

"It's testament to her strength that before that time she had been very gung-ho and always focused on what she could do, rather than what she couldn't."

Northwich Guardian: Laura never let her condition get in the way of seeking adventure

Laura never let her condition get in the way of seeking adventure

In her short life, Laura managed to overcome severe restrictions with her sight and mobility, securing GCSEs in Mathematics and English, was a keen swimmer and even went on sailing trips.

Dawn added: "Considering she had such little vision, it was a humongous achievement to get a C in her GCSE.

"Inspiring doesn't even come close to describing it really.

"She had amazing self-preservation too, so she always knew when she couldn't do something.

"But she went on three unbelievable sailing trips with a charity called Wheelies.

"She even managed to climb the rigging, which is an amazing thing.

"People with disabilities shouldn't be stopped from doing things just because they're in a wheelchair."

Northwich Guardian:

Laura and her mum Dawn

Laura spent the first two decades of her life in and out of hospital, but the exact cause of her health problems - which included restrictions with her sight and an abnormal gait, which eventually resulted in her needing a wheelchair from the age of 12 - remained a mystery.

"A the age of 12 she deteriorated so heartbreakingly fast.

"She went from being able to walk unsupported to needing a wheelchair.

"Laura was dealt a very tough hand in life having to live with mito, but lived it with a smile, beauty and grace.

"The outcome we all want is to find a cure or to hopefully stop this happening to other people.

"There are only three hospitals that deal with mitochondrial disease, which are in Newcastle, Oxford and London."

Northwich Guardian: Laura went on three sailing trips with the charity Wheelies

Laura went on three sailing trips with the charity Wheelies

Light Up for Mito, part of Mitochondrial Awareness Week, seeks to raise awareness of the disease by lighting up prominent buildings and monuments and structures in green.

With the help of Northwich councillors, Bob and Kate Cernik, the town's Cenotaph will be lit up in green light every night this week, while Weaver Vale MP Mike Amesbury also arranged for the Mersey Gateway bridge to be bathed in green light on Sunday, September 19.

Before she died, Laura set up a Just Giving page to raise money for My Mito Mission, a registered charity looking into mitochondrial disease research.

You can still donate to Laura's Mito Mission by clicking HERE.