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Lafayette girl gives up birthday to help animals in need

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LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)- A Lafayette girl is giving up her birthday presents to help local animals in need at no-kill shelters.

The 8-year-old is already receiving overwhelming support from the community as the message spreads on social media.

Now is the time Ella Conrad’s mom would be booking and planning her daughter’s 9th birthday party. Instead, she’s sharing Ella’s birthday wish with all of Acadiana.

It’s a connection like no other between a little girl and animals that began at an early age. “One reason, they’re so cute and I just love helping animals,” she said.

Her mom, Stacy Conrad, believes it’s an animal’s sixth sense that makes this such a special attachment. “Ella was diagnosed at three with Ulcerative Colitis which is extremely rare for somebody her age,” she said.

The 8-year-old is overcoming the autoimmune disease by pouring her heart into another life in need. “It’s been very healing for her,” she added. “It’s very stress-relieving to just pet a dog or pet a cat. For her, it’s very very rewarding to see a homeless animal well taken care of.”

It was about two weeks ago when Acadiana Animal Aid shared a Facebook post on an 11-year-old who traded birthday gifts in for donations to help the organization.

“I always wanted to be a Vet and I always wanted to help the animals,” said Ryan Holm.

Holm would soon become Ella’s best friend and biggest inspiration to do the same thing. “And there’s really no other way I can do that at this age to help the animals besides donating to the shelters,” she said.

The two have now teamed up to fulfill Ella’s wish list. The word has circulated and Conrad’s home is piling up with packages from even out of state donations,  supporting the cause.

“To see the excitement in her, that she knows she has inspired another little girl to keep it rolling. She’s like how many kids my age can say they’ve inspired someone,” said Kim Holm, Ryan’s mom.

Ella will turn nine on March 10th and complete her goal by delivering all items to local no-kill shelters the week before that.

“It makes me feel good. It makes me feel happy to help the animals,” Ella added.

The girls are planning to open an animal shelter of their own when they grow up.

They are collecting items now until the end of February.

Anyone who would like to donate can drop off items or monetary donations to:
 Parkway Animal Hospital, 1007 Alberston Pkwy., Broussard, and Lofton Veterinarian Hospital, 836 Chemin Metairie Rd., Youngsville.

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