Dunmow teen takes on dancing challenge in memory of five-year-old cousin

Shay Richardson. Picture: Georgia Golding

Shay Richardson. Picture: Georgia Golding - Credit: Archant

A teenager from Great Dunmow is holding a dance-a-thon next month in memory of her five-year-old second cousin who died from a rare genetic disease.

Shay Richardson. Picture: Georgia Golding

Shay Richardson. Picture: Georgia Golding - Credit: Archant

Georgia Golding, 19, will spend five hours dancing for donations on June 11 at The Arts Centre in the town, with the hope of hitting £500.

Georgia decided to organise the event after her second cousin, Shay Richardson, died from Mitochondrial disease just a few weeks ago on May 3 – a condition which causes muscle weakness and seizures.

“Shay was bubbly and a normal, smiley child,” she told The Broadcast.

“His condition means that his muscles couldn’t grow and he couldn’t talk properly. The he started having seizures and they were pretty bad. Then it got to the point when he was put on life support.

Georgia Golding. Picture: Georgia Golding

Georgia Golding. Picture: Georgia Golding - Credit: Archant

“It was really hard because of the time difference, and we didn’t find out for another day. I know they were all round his bedside when it happened, and I think his dad was the one who turned it off.”

She added: “Everyone was so supportive and tried to give him the best memories they could.

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“They knew he wouldn’t make it into adulthood, but it was within about six months that it [the deterioration] happened. They thought they could have another meeting in June about what else they could do, but he deteriorated so much.”

Shay’s parents Kelly and Matt live in North Carolina, in America, but that has not stopped Georgia from doing her bit in his memory.

A musical theatre graduate, Georgia knew a dance-a-thon was the best way to raise money for the Brenner Children’s Hospital, in Winston Salem, and one Shay would have liked too.

“I think he would’ve loved it,” she said.

“He liked listening to music and when someone was playing something in the car he’d try and move his arms.”

People can sponsor Georgia’s dancing on the day, or take part themselves for however long they can manage.

Cakes and refreshments will also be available and the dance-a-thon runs from 10.30am to 3.30pm.