Virginia Beach child raises money to donate animal oxygen masks to fire departments

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An oxygen mask is demonstrated on Juliet, a pit bull mix, Thursday, March 8, 2018, in Detroit. The Detroit Fire Department is the recipient of more than 800 pet oxygen masks from local groups and companies mobilized to donate close to 300 pet oxygen mask kits – containing the 800-plus masks – after learning about a house fire in which firefighters saved 15 of 17 trapped dogs. Dr. Maddy Lutz, an emergency veterinarian with Advanced Animal Emergency, said: “The most important thing about these kind of emergencies is getting oxygen to the pet as quickly as possible.” (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – A Virginia Beach child is being recognized by a national organization for her to work to help save animals. 

The 6-year-old raised money to buy special oxygen masks for local fire departments. 

It all started with a lemonade fundraiser and the little girl’s efforts caught the attention of PETA. 

6-year-old Carly Gray Sharon is a little girl on a big mission.  

“Things that are sad shouldn’t happen,” said Carly. 

Carly and her grandmother love animals, and the two often share animal videos with each other, but one video of a firefighter rescuing a dog with a pet oxygen mask had a big impact on Carly’s heart.   

“At first I was really sad thinking if that happened to our pets, but then I had the idea for a lemonade stand,” she said. 

With her mom’s help, Carly set up a lemonade stand at her church to raise money for animal oxygen masks.  

“She had a big tri-fold board with pictures of the animals wearing the masks and things like that so that she could show people,” Tracy Gray said. “Once they saw that, they just gave.” 

The mask kits cost around $85. After three lemonade stands, Carly raised enough money to buy three of them. 

Her pastor and her parents offered to chip in for the cause too, and now Carly will be donating 10 animal oxygen masks to fire departments in Hampton Roads.  

 “I was really excited, and it was really fun,” Carly said.   

PETA took notice and the organization gave Carly the “Hero to Animals” award. The proud first-grader credits her mom for sparking the idea.  

Carly hopes to inspire other kids to give back.  

“She taught me that every little bit will count. Even if you make something little, a little thing, it will make a big difference.”

If you’d like to help donate to Carly’s cause, you can email her mother at tracygray2269@gmail.com. 

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