Seventeen-year-old cancer survivor, Maddie Barber, raised $30,500 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital at a livestock show where contestants receive donations from the audience, according to Southern Living. Maddie had been battling a type of brain cancer, medulloblastoma, since she was twelve years old. Since becoming cancer-free, Maddie spends her time raising pigs on her family’s farm as part of Future Farmers of America, a youth organization that prepares members for “leadership and careers in the science, business and technology of agriculture.”
At the livestock show, children and teens from Future Farmers of America showcase their animals and instead of auctioning them off for buyers, audience members pledge donations. Most contestants receive $2,000 to $4,000 on average which many put towards a college fund or use it to buy more livestock. Showing her two six-month old pigs, the auctioneer announced Maddie’s plan to give the money she raised back to St. Jude’s. The crowd was moved by her story and the donations poured in adding up to an incredible $30,500.
According to Southern Living, “Maddie’s mom, Tally Barber, described a ‘sea of people holding up their bidding numbers,’ and Cheyanne Waltman, Maddie’s agricultural science teacher and Future Farmers of America adviser, said there wasn’t a dry eye in the house when the auction was all said and done.” At the end of the auction, Maddie sold her pigs for $100 each to a farm in California, and plans on raising more pigs.
Maddie shared that she feels so fortunate to have been healed and wants to do whatever she can to help others live a good life too. St. Jude’s is a leading hospital in treating and defeating child cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Today, they have an 80% recovery rate saving the lives of so many children. With Maddie’s heartfelt contribution and her inspiring story, she has much to be proud of as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital will continue to grow stronger as a beacon of light for ill children and their families.