She never expected any reward for her effort, nine-year-old Madison Gale just wanted to "help the animals" affected by this summer's devastating bushfires. But she did get an unexpected thank you, in the form of cuddles with Harriet the wombat. More on that in a moment.
A kind-hearted young girl, Madison raised $127.50 (to be exact) for ACT Wildlife, which rescues, rehabilitates and releases injured or sick orphaned wildlife in Canberra.
Madison did so by holding a cupcake stall at the Crace shops, making the cupcakes, drawing up and posters and setting the date, all by herself.
The year four student at Holy Spirit Primary in Nicholls was upset by the bushfires and the impact on wildlife, her dad Malcolm said.
"The bushfires were on every bit of media going and she wanted to know, 'What are people doing about the animals'?" he said.
"I ended up telling her, 'I really don't know' and she said, 'I'm going to raise money for the animals'. A half an hour later, she comes out with all these posters she's made and says, 'I'm going to sell cupcakes'.
"She put it all together herself, 100 per cent. Which is pretty amazing for a nine-and-a-half-year-old girl."
Mr Gale said Madison made 24 cupcakes, selling them for $1 each. The fact she ended up with more than $120 was a measure of the generosity of Canberrans.
"A lot of people just wanted to make a donation," he said.
Madison was very proud of what she had achieved, helped at the stall by her twin brothers, Thomas and Oliver, seven.
"I did the fundraiser because I'd never done one before," she said.
"I really wanted to help the animals because I've loved animals ever since I was a little girl."
Her dad was equally proud of her.
"The beautiful thing for a parent is to see her come up with an idea, run with it and see it through to the end," he said.
ACT Wildlife appreciated Madison's fundraising and wanted to thank her in a special way.
Madison got to visit Harriet the wombat at the home of the group's wombat coordinator, Lindy Butcher, even getting a cuddle or two.
Mrs Butcher said Harriet had been in care for three months after receiving horrendous injuries including broken bones when she was taken by a fox in Namadgi National Park
"Rangers were out doing some night spotting and saw the fox run past with her in its mouth. They chased it until the fox dropped her," she said.
Harriet had received extensive vet care including several operations. She was now nine months old and would be released when she was 18 to 20 months old. Mrs Butcher said Harriet was now a "very confident little girl".
Madison was thrilled to meet Harriet.
"She was very nice," she said.
ACT Wildlife is run by volunteers and relies on donations from the public.
Mrs Butcher said Madison's contribution would make a difference. It cost $1000 to rehabilitate each wombat.
"What a really thoughtful, kind and entrepreneurial little girl," she said.
ACT Wildlife president, Marg Peachey was also impressed by Madison's initiative.
"I think it's just lovely, "she said.
"I think it's just fantastic on an individual level."
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