Niki Wade was struck and killed while trying to help an injured cat. Her friends say she was on her way to feed stray cats when the accident took her life.
“She died doing something that brought her heart tremendous joy and purpose, despite the many difficulties she experienced in her life,” according to the GoFundMe page established to help her daughter, Anya, who has no surviving parent.
Niki died in Mesa, Arizona early on the morning of Thursday, May 11 when she was struck by a vehicle after she got out of her car to help a wounded cat in the road, according to the GoFundMe site and news reports.
“She was a beautiful, beautiful girl,” with “a beautiful soul,” according to her friend, Alesia Apodaca, who spoke to ABC15 News. “It could’ve happened to me,” she told ABC15. Niki was a volunteer with the Foundation for Homeless Cats.
Nike was caring for three cat colonies, and the Foundation for Homeless Cat is looking for volunteers to look after Niki’s cats. “Niki was a friend to cats and died trying to help a cat that had been hit by a car,” the Facebook post states. “If you live near or in Tempe or Mesa Arizona, Niki did manage three colonies. Help is needed to provide ongoing care of those cats, and continue the compassionate legacy she created to make the community a better place for the kitties.”
“This is a reminder to all animal rescuers, to be careful and alert for your own safety before just acting on instinct to help an animal in need.” A dead cat was found at the scene of the accident.
Apodaca said a local animal welfare organization, Arizona Small Dog Rescue, is donating neon vests to be used by volunteers. “We just want to continue her memory and honor her the best we can.”
According to the GoFundMe page, Niki is survived by her mother, Patti Wade, and her 16 year-old-daughter, Anya Keeleigh Griffin. The GoFundMe appeal is intended to raise money for Anya, whose father died recently.
“After receiving the news of her mother’s passing, the Department of Child Safety granted Temporary Care of Anya to Michael Montanez, a Phoenix Fire Captain. The Phoenix Firefighters Union has graciously offered to handle all of the arrangements concerning the care and memorial of Niki,” according to the page. “This fund has been created for Anya. It is not for anything specific, other than giving her a financial security to help with anything she may feel she needs both now and in the future.”