9-Year-Old Girl Gives Up Her Birthday to Help Animals in Need

Ella Conrad has already collected hundreds of pounds of food to donate to local animal shelters.

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- Posted on Feb 5, 2020

Ella Conrad at home with her dog

While most children throw big parties to celebrate their birthdays, Ella Conrad has other, different plans this year. The 9-year-old from Lafayette, Louisiana is choosing to celebrate her ninth birthday by helping local animals in need at no-kill shelters.

In lieu of birthday gifts, Ella is asking for dog and cat food, gift cards to Pet Smart or Petco, and monetary donations that she can use to buy things the shelters could use.

According to a Lafayette-based CBS affiliate, Conrad was inspired to trade in her birthday after seeing a Facebook post from Acadiana Animal Aid, a local animal shelter, praising 11-year-old Ryan Holm for trading in her birthday gifts for donations to help the organization. The two young girls are now working together to make Conrad’s birthday wish come true.

Conrad, who was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, an autoimmune disease, has relied on animals to comfort her during her healing process.

“It’s been very healing for her,” Ella’s mom, Stacy Conrad, told KLFY. “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.”

The young animal lover plans to one day partner up with Holm to open an animal shelter in order to continue helping animals in need.

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

Conrad has collected over 500-lbs. of food, with one month of the drive still left to go. She is collecting donations through the end of February and will deliver the items to local shelters the week before her March 10th birthday.

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