Rhys Stevens has always loved animals, so when he watched a documentary about dogs in Chinese meat markets, he knew he had to do something.
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The 8-year-old lives in Willingham, England. He immediately asked his mom, Kathleen Stevens, to help him find a way to raise much-needed money for a charity that rescues dogs from the perilous trade.
China Rescue Dogs is a nonprofit in North Carolina that saves street dogs who are destined for the meat trade. They give the pups veterinary care and rehabilitation training, and then find them loving forever homes in North America.
Kathleen suggested that Rhys start a fundraiser to give money to the charity, and Rhys came up with an idea to ride his bicycle for 100 miles in exchange for donations.
They started a Facebook fundraiser and Rhys hit the streets!
To give Rhys an extra incentive, China Rescue Dogs assigned a 1-year-old husky to be the face of his journey. Lola was rescued off the street suffering from a skin disease and severe malnutrition. The organization nursed her back to health and transported her to the U.S. to start her new life in April.
The cost to transport Lola was about $2,500, and Rhys was determined to raise that amount for her.
“Many times while out cycling when Rhys has started to get tired, he’s kicked back into gear and said, ‘Think of Lola!'” Kathleen explained.
“Rhys is passionate about dogs and animals in general,” the proud mom added. “He just wants to do good things and make a difference.”
Jill Stewart, the president and founder of China Rescue Dogs, could not be more thrilled with his support.
“The fact that an 8-year-old boy, halfway around the world, is so selfless that he would want to ride his bike to help us save these dogs brings tears to my eyes,” she said.
China Rescue Dogs is working to transport over 240 dogs, and every donation gets them closer to their goal.
“We really need the public’s help to save and transport these dogs,” Jill said. “The expense is enormous, so every donation helps save a pup!”
With just a few days left before his deadline, Rhys was on target to complete his mission of cycling 100 miles. He finished it off by biking every day to and from school, running errands, and visiting relatives. His community rallied around him as well, helping him smash his initial goal and raise more than $8,500 for China Rescue Dogs!
Where there’s a will, there’s a way! Rhys has done more for these deserving canines than many adults could have, all because he cared enough to try!
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