The rapid pace of the junior livestock auction at Grange Fair slowed Friday afternoon as Marissa Bilyeu walked her lamb out for bidding.
Bilyeu, 17, of State College, wrote a letter for the auctioneer to read to the crowd.
In the letter, she wrote about how her uncle, Rick Bilyeu, one of the most “selfless” people she knew, was diagnosed and eventually lost his battle with mesothelioma.
“He was one of those guys that tried to crack the cheesiest of jokes, pull silly pranks and give you good advice whether you needed it or not,” she wrote in the letter.
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In his memory, the proceeds from the sale of Bilyeu’s market lamb will be donated to the cancer department at Mount Nittany Medical Center.
The crowd applauded at that news, and the auctioneer encouraged bidders to open up their hearts.
The lamb sold for $1,800.
“It was emotional,” Bilyeu said after the sale. “It was a little hard ’cause I was so close to him. But it’s kind of a proud moment.”
Bilyeu had to complete a senior project and thought it would be a nice opportunity to donate to the cancer department, she said.
The donation will go toward buying supplies to go in “comfort” boxes for cancer patients, said Matt Hardy, executive director of Mount Nittany Health Foundation.
Bilyeu’s older sister, Chelsea, 21, also donated the proceeds from one of her lambs to the cancer department in their uncle’s memory several years ago for her senior project.
Chelsea Bilyeu said she was a little lost for words seeing her sister decide to follow in her footsteps.
“I was bawling my eyes out,” Chelsea said, adding that she was “very proud.”
Marissa Bilyeu sold three other animals — another lamb and two hogs (one of which was the reserve grand champion).