The Chilliwack woman who died last week after being found unresponsive on the CN tracks has been identified by her family as 54-year-old Lois Sheridan.
Sheridan suffered from Huntington's disease, a rare neurodegenerative disorder, according to Jessica Clark, Sheridan's niece.
Clark said Sheridan fell on the tracks, hit her head and went into cardiac arrest.
A grandmother-of-four and an avid cook who loved to entertain, Sheridan had been diagnosed last year with Huntington's, an incurable genetic disorder that leads to both cognitive and physical decline.
Sheridan-whom Clark said was known within her family for her one-liners-had previously worked as a business administrator, but was forced to quit due to her condition.
While it's unknown why exactly Sheridan was walking beside the tracks, psychological symptoms of Huntington's can prompt unpredictable behaviour or thoughts.
While Huntington's was first described in 1872, Clark said there is still limited public awareness of the condition and limited institutional support for people with it. (Huntington's afflicts five to 10 people per 100,000, although prevalence varies widely depending on location).
Clark said that more support is needed because Huntington's often renders previously independent and successful people in their mid-50s unable to live on their own.
"I think there's more of a need for a direct connection for people and families," she said.
After being diagnosed, Sheridan told her family that she was no longer comfortable with living on her own. She lived with her sister for the last year of her life.
- A funeral will be held Wednesday and Clark is encouraging donations to Huntington's Disease Research at UBC.
© Copyright 2013