(WNCT) A Hero to Animals Award is on its way from PETA Kids—PETA’s youth division—to 11-year-old Kaden Simpson, who has raised over $8,000 for 12 dogs and cats who survived a fire reported at a house in Duplin County.

PETA said that after seeing photos of the injured survivors, Kaden, who is autistic, immediately told his mother that he wanted to help them.

He started a GoFundMe page to raise money for the animals’ veterinary care and food—a move that was in character, as he’s donated his birthday money to the Duplin County Animal Shelter for years.

“Thanks to Kaden’s thoughtfulness and a huge heart and the kindness of everyone who contributed to the fundraiser, cats, and dogs who survived a terrible tragedy are being helped,” says PETA Senior Director of Youth Programs Marta Holmberg. “PETA Kids is recognizing Kaden for showing that young people can be the biggest heroes to animals in need.”

PETA Kids thanks Kaden for being a proponent of animal adoption and for supporting his local shelter.

He and his family are guardians to five adopted animal companions.

PETA Kids urges everyone to help combat this crisis by following Kaden’s lead and never buying an animal from a breeder or pet store.