Animal Rescue Groups Receive $12,000 from Child Cancer Victim’s Efforts

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MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) - The memory and legacy of a nine-year-old girl who passed away from cancer is living on in the faces of animals getting help and attention they need.

It comes as a result of Sasha Dison, who lived in Limestone County and loved animals.

Before she died, Sasha's family and friends organized an event to raise money for sick, injured and neglected animals called "Taking Care of Paws - Sasha's Way".

This week was the payoff, which Sasha's mother said would have made her daughter smile.

"This was Sasha's dream," said Liz Cuneo, an organizer and family friend. "We're glad that we can fulfill her dream."

She was speaking to a gathering of family, friends and animal lovers. in honor of Sasha at Whitworth Animal Clinic in Madison.

"That is exactly what she wanted," said Larissa Dison, Sasha's mother.

It's been a little more than a month since Sasha lost her battle with cancer.

Before she died, Sasha made it clear what she wanted to happen.

"She wanted to help the kitties and the puppies and the other animals," said Larissa Dison.  "The animals who were abandoned, who don't have basic needs, the animals who don't have medical help."

During the gathering on Tuesday afternoon, Sasha's dream came true.

"We're giving you four-thousand-dollars," said Liz Cuneo to representatives from Challenger's House, a cat rescue.

The fundraiser brought in $12,000, which the organizers split among three non-profit animal rescue groups: Challenger's House, A New Leash on Life, and Friends of Rescue.

"It means a lot to us because we take in a lot of animals with injuries and illnesses that no one else will care for, so it can be very expensive," said Dana Brown of Friends of Rescue.

Cheri Mead of A New Leash on Life said, "We have a lot of animals that are heartworm positive that no one else will take."

And Susan Burlingame of Challenger's House said the money will make a big difference for the cats they rescue and foster.

"We've got vet bills all the time and medicines and things.. we will definitely use it," she said.

It didn't stop there.  The fundraiser also brought in thousands of pounds of pet food distributed to shelters that needed it.  Big Heart Pet Food of Decatur donated 3,500 pounds.

"At Big Heart, we believe that we're going to nurture the bond between the pets and the people who love them," said Michael Locke, a company representative.  "That's what Sasha believed."

"This was her dream," said Larissa Dison.  "And the dream was in some way accomplished today."

Sasha's friends and family are planning another event to coincide with what would have been Sasha's tenth birthday in August.

They plan to continue raising money for animal care to keep Sasha's memory and legacy alive.

TCP - Sasha's Way donated $100 to the medical costs for Major, a dog from Huntsville that was shot while protecting his owner from robbers trying to break into her apartment.


  • Megan

    What a heart warming story! Such a beautiful little girl with an even more beautiful heart. Her legacy will surely live on with all the lives she touched-human, K9, and feline alike.

  • Sue

    Absolutely the most caring and compassionate little ANGEL! What a wonderful thing to dream especially with the pain she had going on herself. Everyone who helped her dream happen is marvelous! Sasha- you are truly special. The pets love you for caring about them. For Sasha’s parents- she was certainly a little girl to be proud of no doubt!

  • gigi

    Such a precious, generous child. Wise beyond her years. We can all learn from this compassionate little girl.

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