Alberta Cancer Foundation

Steering Towards a Cure

Nestled along Range Road 55, a short drive northwest of Lloydminster, sits the hamlet of Clandonald, population 150, where one resident’s big idea is turning fundraising for cancer research on its head.

Cole Goad, a senior member of Clandonald’s 4-H club, raised a yearling steer for auction to raise money for the Alberta Cancer Foundation in support of the Cross Cancer Institute. Goad got the idea because his grandfather is a skin cancer patient. The 4-H club in neighbouring Vermillion caught wind of Goad’s idea and fundraised with Clandonald for a joint Dutch auction at the Vermillion Fairgrounds.

Jessi Selte, who leads Clandonald’s 4-H club, says the fundraiser “went from one family giving a steer to raise funds and snowballed into the [4-H] interclub raising money for cancer.”

Participants in a Dutch auction buy ballots – or chances to win – which are collectively put in a pot and drawn. Buying more ballots increases the odds of taking home the prize. In this case, the prize was substantial. Goad’s steer, named Cliff Hanger, weighed an impressive 1,480 pounds. That’s enough meat to fill up a deep freeze, and then some.

A steer can fetch around $2,000 but, at the joint auction, Cliff Hanger netted almost $13,000. “Absolutely everything goes toward the institute,” Selte says.

In addition to donating the steer itself, area residents donated feed for the animal since October 2009 and Vermillion Packers donated the labour to pack the meat for the winner. Stuart Holdings, a Vermillion-based company, won Cliff Hanger. More than 170 people attended the Vermillion Fair Grounds on auction day.