The 3-year-old daughter of newly appointed Rep. Holly Richardson died Thursday morning after a lifetime suffering from a rare brain disorder.
Angelia Sariah Richardson suffered from hydranencephalies, a birth defect that left her without much of her brain. About half of such patients die within the first year of their life and few live to the age of 10. She was one of 20 children the Richardson family has adopted.
"We knew she would die young," the Pleasant Grove Republican said Thursday. "But we knew we could care for her and give her as much love and attention as she could get. She was almost never put down. She was just held constantly because it made her happy."
Richardson said the family is planning a funeral for Saturday, but she expects to be back in the House on Friday.
"It's tragic," said House Speaker Becky Lockhart, R-Provo. "I have a lot of respect for Representative Richardson, who has many children who have severe disabilities and the fact that her family is willing to take that on, I think, is something we should all admire."
Richardson said the timing of Angelia's passing was unexpected and she had had a good week.
"Angelia proved that, no matter how we come into the world, we are capable of loving and being loved, that we can be happy and make those around us happy," Richardson said in a statement.
Richardson was chosen last Saturday to replace Rep. Craig Frank in House District 57 after it was discovered that Frank no longer lived in the district. For several years, Richardson has written a popular conservative blog and has been a political activist. It has been a week, Richardson said, of "high highs and low lows."