Cassidy’s Purr-fect Party is Full of Surprises

///Cassidy’s Purr-fect Party is Full of Surprises

On March 9, 2021, North Shore Animal League America had the honor of hosting a Purr-fect Party to celebrate five-year-old cancer survivor, Cassidy. Cassidy is an ambassador for Stop & Shop’s Help Cure Childhood Cancer campaign, which raises money for the Pediatric Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. “Cassidy is such a special little girl, and so full of empathy for others,” said Maura O’Brien, Stop & Shop External Communications and Community Relations Manager. “We wanted to make this day memorable for her, and her whole family.”

Given Cassidy’s deep love for animals — especially cats — and the fact that she could not have a cat of her own due to her mom’s allergies, Maura contacted Animal League America’s National Spokesperson, Foster Parent, and Board Member Beth Stern in the hope of coordinating a cat-themed experience. Beth knew Bianca’s Furry Friends Feline Adoption Center (BFF) would be the purr-fect place for Cassidy to meet and interact with wonderful cats and kittens.

When they arrived at BFF, Cassidy and her family were amazed to enter a Kitten Princess Wonderland. Inspired by Cassidy’s story, the staff and volunteers at Animal League America worked tirelessly to create a magical atmosphere of castles and cats, with princess-themed backdrops that incorporated pictures of Cassidy and her brother Connor, as well as their parents. Stop & Shop generously contributed an array of delicious snacks and refreshments, from colorful cupcakes to a custom-made cake. Best of all, Cassidy and her family were surprised with a pen full of delightful kittens to cuddle.

Cassidy has come a long way in her short time. Diagnosed at three and a half, there were long months of treatment to endure while fighting her advanced stage cancer. Throughout, she always had a passion for animals of all kinds. “For comfort, she would surround herself with the many stuffed animals people gave her,” her parents recall. When Cassidy realized not every patient in the hospital had the benefit of something to snuggle, she asked if she could distribute stuffed animals to the other children. Her parents started the effort Cuddles From Cassidy as a way to “turn their pain into purpose” and be able to bring comfort to other pediatric cancer patients.

Cassidy hopes to be a veterinarian one day, and she was gleeful as she got to visit all the rooms at BFF and spend time with the resident cats. It was this same spirited reaction that brought their dog, Olivia, into their home over a year ago. “Cassidy was going through treatment and it was a difficult time,” recalls her mom. “But when we saw the way her energy totally shifted around animals, we knew we couldn’t wait.”

After all the feline playtime, Cassidy and her family opened gifts from Animal League America and Beth Stern, including a dog treat maker and signed copies of Beth’s best-selling Yoda books. The surprises weren’t over however! No visit to Animal League America would be complete without a visit to see the puppies and it was love at first sight for Cassidy, her family and an adorable Australian Shepherd mix pup. We are pleased to say Oreo is now an official member of Cassidy’s family! It is truly a fairytale ending for this rescue dog and his princess. A special thank you to Stop & Shop for letting us share in this unforgettable day, and for all the refreshments and supplies they provided to our incredible Animal League America staff and volunteers.