Charity night in memory of Sunderland mum who fought Huntington’s disease

Maria pictured with daughter Stacey, grandchildren Nia, Bailey and Theo, and Nikki, far right
Maria pictured with daughter Stacey, grandchildren Nia, Bailey and Theo, and Nikki, far right
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A charity night will be held in memory of a Sunderland mum who lost her battle with a disease she fought for 20 years.

Mum-of-two Maria Richards, 48, died from Huntington’s disease on January 22 after being diagnosed with the disorder of the central nervous system when she was just 27.

Her daughter Nikki, who cared for her mum alongside dad Thomas and sister Stacey, 27, had been arranging a charity night for the Huntington’s Disease Association when her mum took a turn for the worse.

Now tomorrow’s charity night at The Smugglers in Roker will also act as poignant memorial night.

Nikki, 23, a barmaid at the popular pub, said: “Mum got bad quite quickly after she was diagnosed and she needed round-the-clock care. She got particularly bad just before Christmas and doctors said she may not live until Christmas Day, so we feel thankful we had that last Christmas with her.

“It’s a terrible disease and one that’s very tough to live with, so we want to raise awareness and help fund research into the condition.”

Nikki has held charity nights for the cause previously.

“Mum came to previous charity nights and always enjoyed them,” she said. “Because it’s a hereditary condition, my aunt and mum’s sister Tracy O’Wellen also had the disease.

“She died just before I held a charity night last year when she was 49. It’s horrible because the disease is hereditary and terminal, but there’s always research being done, particularly at the Centre for Life in Newcastle. As a family, we’d really like to raise awareness of how it affects people and support others.”

Proceeds will go towards helping sufferers of the disease, a genetic disorder that leads to mental decline and behavioural symptoms.

The night will have a comic book theme and people are invited to attend in fancy dress.

There will be a comic book quiz and raffle, as well as a performance from duo Yuma.

Tickets can be bought on the door for £5, with the night beginning at 7.30pm.