Autistic 10-year-old NH Girl's Christmas Wish Is to Keep Animals at Shelter Warm
HAMPSTEAD — A 10-year-old girl is teaming up with a Hampstead athletic facility to make a difference at her favorite animal shelter this Christmas.
Shae-Lynn Phaneuf, 10, of Hampstead, is collecting donations for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals at Nevins Farm, located in Methuen, Mass.
After going through many struggles medically and socially, Shae-Lynn finds comfort and love with the animals at the Methuen farm. She visits the animals almost every weekend and walks the animals sometimes.
Shae-Lynn is developmentally delayed and has autism. Her mother, Lyndsey Phaneuf, said Shae-Lynn is actually about 6½ years old developmentally.
In 2015, NH1 News wrote an article investigating allegations that Shae-Lynn was bullied in an Epping elementary school. Her mother described several incidents in which other students physically assaulted her daughter because of her mental disabilities. Her mother also said the school did not take enough action to stop the bullying.
READ: NH1 News Investigates Brutal Bullying? Mom says autistic daughter beaten, bullied at Epping Elementary School
Although Shae-Lynn had problems in school, she bonds easily with animals and forms special connections with them. Her mother said that Shae-Lynn walked the dogs this past weekend and held a litter of kittens.
This Christmas, Shae-Lynn’s goal is to make a difference in the animal shelter this winter. When Santa asked what her biggest wish is, Shae-Lynn replied that she wants to help the animals by collecting donations from people in her community.
“She just wants the animals to be warm,” said Phaneuf of her daughter.
Rize Athletics, at 142 NH State Route 111, Hampstead, reached out to make Shae-Lynn’s wish come true. On their Facebook page, they asked if anyone knew of a family in need of help this Christmas. Phaneuf said she explained her daughter’s wish, and Rize was excited to help.
The athletic facility placed a Christmas tree in the lobby of the building, and people have been leaving gifts and money donations for the farm. Rize also posted a flyer on their Facebook page asking community members to donate blankets, animal toys, or other animal supplies.
This was not the first time Shae-Lynn put her own needs aside to help the beloved animals of Nevins Farm. Over this past summer, Shae-Lynn donated about $50 that she raised through a lemonade stand.
The donations will be accepted at Rize through Dec. 18. The donations will then be picked up from Rize by Lyndsey and Shae-Lynn and brought to Nevins Farm sometime next week before Christmas.