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Murston girl with severe anxiety disorder fundraising for training of her support dog

A 10-year-old girl who has a severe anxiety disorder is trying to raise money for her support dog.

Amelia Vanns, from Murston, near Sittingbourne, was diagnosed with selective mutism at the age of three. Since then, this has progressed to issues with social communication difficulties and separation anxiety.

Elizabeth Vanns speaks about the impact Marley has had on Amelia

However, things have got much easier for Amelia since the arrival of support dog Marley, an 18-month-old golden Labrador, in October last year.

Marley had been trained by charity Supporting Paws as a support dog.

Amelia’s mum Elizabeth, 46, said: “When Amelia is upset or anxious, Marley can calm her down.

“He has made simple things, such as going out shopping, so much easier – she’s much less anxious and gives her something to focus on.

“Instead of needing to grip my hand, she can hold his lead. They adore each other and are inseparable.”

Ten-year-old Amelia Vanns, from Murston, and her support dog, Marley, are inseparable since he arrived last October (47801959)
Ten-year-old Amelia Vanns, from Murston, and her support dog, Marley, are inseparable since he arrived last October (47801959)

The family have already raised £4,300 towards Marley’s training costs, but still have another £1,700 to go.

To try and raise the rest of the funds needed, Amelia and Marley will both wear capes and take part in the Marvel superheroes series ‘Find Your Power’ challenge, a countrywide disability sports event which encourages people to set their own challenges – from 100 metres to 1,000 km or more – and complete them however they want, when they want, between May 29 and June 5.

Amelia and Marley hope to walk 30 km throughout the week.

Due to Covid-19, the Marvel fundraising event is once again being held at home, but the family are being supported by the Tonbridge-based children’s charity, Tree of Hope.

The charity will be helping them raise money for Amelia’s healthcare needs and providing re-assurance.

Gill Gibb, CEO at Tree of Hope, said: “We are delighted to be supporting Amelia and her family in their fundraising and wish them all the best in their continued fundraising.”

To donate to Amelia’s fund, click here.

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