After being diagnosed with a brain tumor, Gloucestershire resident Helen Hancox was told she had only days to live. Despite this humbling news, Hancox was determined to cross one final item off her bucket list: to pet an alpaca.
In the days following her diagnosis, Hancox had spent much of her time in bed watching television under the care of her husband Colin. When she saw an alpaca featured in a television program, however, Hancox couldn’t resist the urge to touch one.
This spurred her daughter Jackie to action. As a last gift to her mother, Jackie reached out on social media to see if a local farmer would be willing to bring an alpaca to her mother. Hancox was bedridden after suffering from a fall which fractured her hip, the event which later revealed the brain tumor.
Ginnie Meakin was more than happy to oblige. The Gloucester-based alpaca farmer delighted in bringing in 12-year-old alpaca, Cosmo, to Hancox’s bedside.
A naturally sociable animal, the alpaca was used to crowds and small spaces from touring local schools and hospitals. Though Meakin doesn’t normally perform house calls, she was happy to perform this one-time event for Hancox.
According to Hancox, this was the first time she had seen an alpaca in real life. Alpacas are a part of a group of four species known as camelids, and are distant cousins of the llama and camel.
Hancox noted that seeing an alpaca in person was “10 times better” than seeing one on her television. She was joined by her husband Colin, her two daughters Jackie and Cat, and her grandson Dan for the event.
Cosmo was calm, easygoing, and remain relaxed through the visit.
To remember her time with Cosmo, Meakin even gave Hancox a small miniature of Cosmo to keep.
When Cosmo and Meakin had to leave, Hancox spoke to the calm alpaca directly, thanking him for his time.
“I’m very happy to have met you,” she said. She also claimed that the alpaca’s presence was able to “make things wonderful for people, even for me.”