THE parents of an inspirational little girl who died at the age of eight have launched an awareness campaign into the illness she suffered from.

Emma and Stewart Bailey have come up with a novel way of sharing information about Leigh Syndrome, one of the family of Mitochondrial diseases.

Their daughter, Amber, loved to paint stones and now they have launched Mito Rocks 19.

They are encouraging members of the public to paint rocks and to hide them in public places.

Each stone carries information which urges the finder to look at the Mito Rocks 19 Facebook page and find out more about the disease.

Some have already been hidden in Texas, California and Spain.

Emma, Stewart and their 13-year-old son, Aaron live in Upton in Poole.

Amber died in April this year after a long battle with the genetic condition.

Emma told the Daily Echo: "Our son has autism so, when Amber was about two and she wasn't talking very much, we thought we were dealing with the same thing.

"However, she couldn't walk because she had weak muscles and she was diagnosed with Leigh Syndrome when she was three."

Mrs Bailey said Amber walked briefly when she was three-years-old before she became weaker.

"She used to enjoy art and craft and liked painting rocks. Unfortunately in the last year of her life she lost the ability to use her hands but she would love the rocks that people have been painting."

All those who attended Amber's funeral this year were urged to donate toys instead of sending flowers and a total of 100 toys were donated to Poole Hospital's children's unit.

Emma said some supporters have started taking rocks on holiday and hiding them in different countries around the world.

"We just want people to be more aware" she said. "Amber was in and out of hospital and we even had to explain it to some of the doctors because they had never heard of it.

"We hope that if more people become aware of Mitochondrial Diseases then it will lead to more research."

Mitochondrial disease is is described as an inherited chronic illness that can be present at birth or develop later in life.

It causes debilitating physical, developmental, and cognitive disabilities with symptoms including poor growth, loss of muscle coordination, muscle weakness and pain, seizures, vision and/or hearing loss, gastrointestinal issues, learning disabilities and organ failure.

It is estimated that 1 in 4,000 people has Mito. It is progressive and there is no cure.

Go to Mito Rocks 19 on Facebook for more information.