AN EIGHT year-old has launched her own charity campaign after watching her aunt turn her life around with the help of an assistance dog.
Katie Davies, of The Fremnells, Basildon, spent weeks preparing a video to encourage her classmates to donate postage stamps, old mobile phones and used ink cartridges to be recycled and raise money for Canine Partners.
Her hard work was so inspirational that the charity are hoping to use it as an example of how more children can get involved with fundraising.
Aunt Eileen Hobson, 61, spent 20 years in hospital in London after being diagnosed with the rare Stiff-Man’s Syndrome- a neurological condition which causes severe progressive muscle stiffness.
When she was finally allowed home former Army warrant officer Eileen required 24 hour care and found it hard to cope with the lack of independence.
That all changed when Canine Partners stepped in seven years ago to give her Golden Retriever Sailor.
Katie, a member of South Essex Gymnastics Club, said: “Sailor helps Auntie Eileen with lots of things from getting dressed and undressed, opening doors, picking things up, paying for shopping and even doing the washing. Without Sailor things would be so hard for her. He is really amazing!”
The youngster has already held a special assembly for her fellow pupils at Fairhouse Junior School, Basildon, and now hopes to take her campaign across the country by teaming up with Canine Partners.
Proud mum Bev Davies said: “Eileen has got her life back, Sailor really has saved her.
“Katie has grown up with Sailor. I remember when she was just a toddler and we went to visit them in London Katie kept dropping pieces of her puzzle and every time Sailor would pick them up straight away and pass them to Eileen, because that’s what he’s trained to do. It took her forever to finish it!
“She’s absolutely delighted with the response from the charity. Katie is normally really shy but she’s so excited to help out with this campaign.”
For more information on the charity visit www.caninepartners.org.uk.