A young Edmonton girl living with a chronic illness has chosen to help animals in need over helping herself.

Twelve-year-old Sidney is living with chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction syndrome, a rare disorder that severely affects her intestines.

“When she’s sick she could very sick, it can be very sudden. We never know what we will encounter,” says Sidney’s mother Miaophing.

“Maybe today she’s okay but by midnight she’s sick. It’s very unpredictable.”

Sidney is often in hospital, for days, weeks or even months at a time.

Because of her condition, and the unpredictable nature of when she may get sick, the family doesn’t have any pets – but that hasn’t stopped the young girl from becoming passionate about animals – especially animals in need.

Sidney was given a once-in-a-lifetime chance to have a wish granted by the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Northern Alberta.

Instead of choosing something for herself, Sidney chose to pass along the generosity and help the Edmonton Humane Society.

“I thought it would be a good idea,” Sidney said.

That act of generosity is rare, says Cathy Gabucci, with the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

“They are very unique,” Gabucci said.

“She wants to give back, she didn’t want to keep any of it for herself, this is what brings her joy and this is where Sidney derives her strength from and so it’s very important that we honour her wish to give her wish to others. “

Sidney’s wish includes a $4,000 shopping spree for animal care supplies to help those living long-term at the humane society. The young girl will also get to job shadow with Edmonton Humane Society protection officers and a party to celebrate her wish will also be held.

'She could have anything and this is what she's chosen'

“We were just so thrown that she is paying her wish forward to our shelter animals and that she’s given what she’s been given,” said Shawna Randolph with the Edmonton Humane Society.

“She could have anything and this is what she’s chosen? It’s our joy to see the joy on her face and to see her interacting with the animals and to see the animals are enjoying it as well.”

Sidney has fundraised to help humane societies in the past and even asked for donations to the Red Deer SPCA in lieu of gifts for her ninth birthday.

“They’re living things too. Shelters like the humane society treat them kindly… that’s why it’s important to help them. Rescue dogs are in a lot of bad situations,” Sidney said.

Miaophing says there is no cure for chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction syndrome, but is hopeful medical advances means one day her daughter can live a normal life.

“We just hope medical advancements hopefully they may give us more options in the future,” Miaophing said.

Sidney says it felt good to help the homeless animals and adds when she’s older, she’d like to volunteer at the Edmonton Humane Society.

“I hope they will find a good home some day and for the new ones who are coming in, I hope when they’re here they’ll have a nice place to stay for awhile until they can find their forever home,” Sidney said.

“I think I’ll find out when I can start volunteering here… maybe I have to be a bit older.”

The Make-a-Wish Foundation grants wishes of any kind to children with life-threatening medical conditions.

Gabucci says the Make-a-Wish Foundation will grant 85 wishes in northern Alberta this year.