Virginia girl raises funds to help rehabilitate abandoned sea lion pups in Southern California

LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- When 9-year-old Alana Thogerson learned of the amount of sea lion pups being stranded on Southern California's coast, she decided to do something about it.

She created a GoFundMe page and vowed to donate any money raised to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach.

"Thousands of baby sea lions have been abandoned this year by warm water temperatures and the mom sea lions are having to travel out too far to get the food," she said.

The young girl from Virginia found out about the recent increase of stranded sea lion pups from her mother, Collette, who came across an abandoned pup in March during a visit to California.

"She randomly said one morning, 'I want to have a sale! I want to have a sale for sea lions,'" her mother recalled.

Alana gathered whatever possessions she could think to sell and raised $22 - but the innovative 9-year-old didn't stop there.

With some help from mom, Alana created the GoFundMe page, which has now raised more than $1,700.

As a reward for her efforts, and as a birthday gift, Alana's mom flew her west on a trip to meet some of the sea lions her donation would be helping.

"It makes me feel really happy that a lot of people wanted to give money to the sea lions," Alana said.

The family said their fundraising efforts have been so successful that they are going to leave the page open so they can continue to donate to their cause.
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