A recent auction at the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair worked overtime — or perhaps more accurately, double time — to raise funds for children’s cancer research.
In the end the event raised over $32,000 for this cause, and how that figure was raised is a testament to the charitable generosity of the sector.
An Angus steer was auctioned at the March 29 event not once, but twice. He brought $15,000 the first go around, and was purchased by the Stan Cochrane syndicate. That group in turn donated the steer back for resale. The second time he sold for $17,250 and was purchased by the PROFYLE syndicate, comprised of producers and industry enthusiasts from Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.
“The cattle community is an unbelievable community,” said an emotional Dallas Johnston of Brookdale, provincial exhibition director and chair of the RMWF cattle show.
He, along with his wife Lynne, operate DJ Cattle Company. They donated the steer, aptly named Profyle, to be auctioned off following the annual Winter Fair steer show.
“That’s a tremendous amount of money to be raised,” Johnston said.
The cause is near and dear to their hearts. The Johnston’s grandson Aysen Abey, now three years old, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma and a rare disorder called Opsoclonus Myoclonus Ataxia (OMA) at just 11 months of age.
That was over two years ago. Just two months ago, he literally ran out of CancerCare Manitoba with a clean bill of health.
The Johnstons wanted to give back to the program that had given them their grandson’s life back.
They came up with the idea of donating the proceeds of the sale of the steer to PROFYLE (Precision Oncology for Young People), a new program initiated by the CancerCare Foundation of Manitoba.
The program is individually targeted towards infants and young adults (up to age 29 years) that are out of treatment options for their cancer, and are given less than a 30 per cent survival rate over five years. For most, it is a last resort.
“The goal of this project was to raise awareness and raise some money to help beat this disease,” said Johnston.
That they did. The Johnstons put the word out to the cattle community across the Prairies regarding their intention, and the industry overwhelmingly responded.
The sale was conducted by well-known auctioneer Ward Cutler of Virden, who was also very moved by the chain of events that unfolded.
“I couldn’t be more proud to be a friend of the Johnston family, a friend of the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair, and to call Manitoba my home,” said Cutler. “I’m a very proud Manitoban tonight.”
The beef once processed, will be enjoyed by families dealing with cancer, possibly at Camp Indigo near Winnipeg, a camp for kids and their siblings dealing with cancer.
The CancerCare Foundation of Manitoba is committed to raising one million dollars over the next five years for PROFYLE.
DJ Cattle Company is doing its part to contribute to that goal by agreeing to donate a steer to the Winter Fair steer sale in the years to come.
“When you’re talking about youth, you can always count on the Johnston family,” said Cutler.