Bothasig girl puts animals first for her birthday

Cheryl-Lyn Potgieter, founder of Cheryl-Lyn’s Rescue Organisation, receiving donations from Aemilia Sampson, 7.

For her seventh birthday, all that Aemilia Sampson wanted from her family and friends were food, treats and toys… for needy animals.

The Bothasig girl celebrated her birthday on Wednesday March 8, and during the course of the week, she managed to collect a bakkie load of cat food and dog food, and R1250 in cash, which she handed over to an animal-welfare organisation, Cheryl-Lyn’s Rescue Organisation, on Sunday, March 12.

Aemilia and a few of her friends spent two hours playing and feeding the animals at Cheryl-Lyn’s Rescue Organisation – just how she wished to spend her birthday.

Her father, Warren Sampson, said he did not buy into the idea at first when Aemilia mentioned her “wishes” 10 months ago, but as the time drew nearer to her birthday, she did not change her mind and he decided to go with her ideas for a birthday celebration.

Aemilia’s godmother, Rose Rautenbach, created a poster, which went up on social media, and a Bothasig pet shop offered to give a 5% discount to anyone who bought from his shop to donate.

Mr Sampson said Aemilia encouraged her friends and family to give at least one birthday to an animal welfare organisation in their area, as she wishes to continue raising awareness and collecting food for animal-rescue groups.

Aemilia, who has a Yorkshire terrier, a fish, a corn snake and two finches, hopes to become a vet one day, according to Mr Sampson.

Cheryl-Lyn Potgieter thanked Aemilia and her family for the food and cash donations and said she would be using the money to raise the fence around the rescue shelter.

“I would like to thank an amazing young girl, Aemilia Sampson, who decided to not to receive gifts for her birthday, but instead she raised funds of the amount R1 200 in cash as well as she collected lots of dog and cat food for our animals on the farm,” said Ms Potgieter.

Aemilia’s brother, Hayden Sampson, enjoyed feeding the dogs at Cheryl-Lyn’s Rescue Organisation.