PHOEBE Whitlock, 9, from Gorseinon, Swansea was diagnosed with autism and a moderate learning disability when she was seven years old.
She is loving and funny and adores Lego and dancing but also struggles with emotional and sensory regulation and suffers from high levels of anxiety.
The family are keen to raise funds for an Autism Support Dog from Supporting Paws to help Phoebe get out more and help calm her down when she is anxious.
Mum Kim, 34, said:
“We met Comet, a dog trained by Supporting Paws in February and you could see the difference in Phoebe almost immediately. She was calmer than usual and it gave her something to focus on, which in turn prevented her becoming over-anxious from the stimuli around her. She also loved it when the dog lay on her as they are trained to do if their owner is becoming agitated – it has the same kind of effect as a weighted blanket.
“We feel that the focus and responsibility of a dog would really help Phoebe. She also gets very anxious about things like getting muddy when she goes outside so we hope it would help her get over that. She has already decided she wants to call the dog Sonny and she’s so excited about it sometimes it makes her cry. So all we have to do now is raise the rest of the money!”
The family have so far raised around half of the £8,000 needed, through family donations, fundraising events and two donations of £1000 from Persimmon Homes and local charity Active for Autism based in Burry Port, Carmarthenshire. Covid-19 has made further fundraising difficult, though an online Body Shop sale is planned for the near future as well a comedy evening in October, which the family hopes will raise around £2,000 if it is able to go ahead as planned.
Tree of Hope CEO Gill Gibb said:
“Many of the families we support have had their fundraising efforts made very difficult since lockdown. We’re delighted to hear that Phoebe is halfway to getting her dog and are delighted to be supporting the family in their fundraising efforts.”
To donate to Phoebe’s fund, please visit: https://www.treeofhope.org.uk/phoebe-whitlock/
For more information about Tree of Hope, visit www.treeofhope.org.uk For more information about Supporting Paws, please visit: www.supportingpaws.org
For more information, images or to arrange interviews please contact Catherine Cooper on 00 33 5 61 69 57 89, 00 33 6 09 03 55 88 or firstname.lastname@example.org