Family hopes to name new Riverbanks Zoo giraffe after deceased 8-year-old

Amelia, 8, died of brain cancer four years ago. She spent her last day that she could walk getting a behind the scenes tour of the zoo. (Source: Samantha Attaway)
Amelia, 8, died of brain cancer four years ago. She spent her last day that she could walk getting a behind the scenes tour of the zoo. (Source: Samantha Attaway)
Amelia, 8, died of brain cancer four years ago. She spent her last day that she could walk getting a behind the scenes tour of the zoo. (Source: Samantha Attaway)
Amelia, 8, died of brain cancer four years ago. She spent her last day that she could walk getting a behind the scenes tour of the zoo. (Source: Samantha Attaway)

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Riverbanks Zoo celebrated the arrival of a newborn giraffe calf in early April and has since opened up an auction for people to bid on the opportunity to name her! One family is trying to raise enough money to name the calf after their deceased child, Amelia, who died four years ago from brain cancer.

"The timing is absolutely perfect to remembering her this April from passing away four years ago," Amelia's mom, Samantha Attaway, said. "I said at the time, well, Amelia's a great name for a giraffe and my best friends jumped on that straight away and said, 'Oh, wouldn't that be great?'"

The last day Amelia could walk, she went on a special behind-the-scenes tour of the zoo where she got to feed and meet the giraffes — her favorite animal.

"She walked around and fed them and really exerted a lot of energy at that time," Attaway said. "We did not know that was going to be the last day she could walk. We didn't that would be the last time she could voluntarily open her eyes."

Amelia's family and friends have raised over $2,500 dollars and are still taking donations to memorialize Amelia forever as the name of the new giraffe. Every cent of the money goes towards giraffe conservation, which the new baby giraffe will play a large role in as giraffes are facing a dramatic population decrease in the wild. They were uplisted to 'Vulnerable' on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List in November of 2016.

"I could not think of a better memorial for my daughter then naming a giraffe after her," Attaway said. "It's really hard to know to remember a child. Cemeteries, gravestones just don't seem appropriate. You just really have to remember the love that a child has for everything in life."

If you wish to help make this a reality, you can contribute to the "Amelia's Fundraiser" Venmo account. The deadline for bids to name the calf is Sunday.

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