Teen Wins Essay Contest And Donates The $50,000 Prize To A Cat Shelter

In an incredible act of kindness, one 13-year-old girl who’d won a national essay contest chose to forgo her winnings, and instead donate all the money to her local Michigan animal shelter.

Sidney Hertzberg is a regular volunteer at the Ferndale Cat Shelter in Ferndale, Michigan. She is a self-proclaimed cat person, so when Petco put out an essay contest, she decided to enter and write about her love of cats and all her experiences with them.

According to WXYZ, Sidney said, “I figured OK, let’s write a story, maybe by some miraculous reason we’ll get in the top something.”

And like any good writer, she let her essay flow from the heart – detailing out all her personal experiences with the illness POTS and how her adopted kitten, Mr. Mittens, was the guiding light that got her through. She explained that POTS can cause dizziness, fatigue, and muscle aches. When it came to adopting her kitten, he was only a week old and weighed no more than four ounces. She worked tirelessly to bottle feed him and save his life. But what she explained in her essay was that he ended up saving her as well, helping her cope with her POTS.

She entered her heartfelt essay to Petco’s contest and ended up winning the grand prize of $50,000. In a very kind gesture, she chose to donate every last penny to the Ferndale Cat Shelter.

The executive director for the Ferndale Cat Shelter, Deanne Iovan, couldn’t believe it. As WXYZ reported, she said, “When I got a call from Petco saying that we were in the running to win a prize, I just bawled on the phone.”

Explaining her actions, Sidney said that she knew 2020 has been rough all around. That is why she wanted to make the big donation to the shelter.

And if that wasn’t enough, Sidney is also responsible for starting the Sidney’s Seniors for Seniors program, where senior cats get paired with senior citizens for company. All the cat food as well as medical expenses are covered. What a remarkable young girl.

What do you think of her donation and charity program? Let us know!

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Anastasia is an American ex-pat living in Ireland. When she's not writing she can be found wandering the Irish countryside in search of inspiration. You can follow her writing adventures on Twitter @AnastasiaArell5 or Instagram @writeranastasia26
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