Chelsea Bilyeu

Chelsea Bilyeu

Chelsea Bilyeu

Generosity at work

It was Wednesday, August 28, and Chelsea Bilyeu was standing in the sale ring with her lamb at the Grange Fair, watching and waiting to see how much the lamb would sell for at this year’s Junior Livestock Sale. The auctioneer had announced to the crowd gathered that this girl and her lamb were special; they had submitted a letter indicating that the proceeds from the sale of the lamb would be donated. While Chelsea’s eyes welled up, the auctioneer started the bidding $700 higher than he had for the previous lambs. The minimum bid was set at $1,000, and a bidding war started.

The 17-year-old State College Area High Senior has been selling her lambs as part of Future Farmers of America (FFA) since she was seven, but this year was different. Chelsea was donating all of the proceeds to Mount Nittany Health Foundation to honor her late uncle Rick Bilyeu of Iowa, and yearned for a high bid.

“My uncle passed away two years ago from mesothelioma,” said Chelsea. “We were extremely close, and it was really hard on me when he died. He was always joking and laughing – it’s something I really miss.”

Rick was only 58 when he died. When Chelsea started to think about her senior project for school, she had the idea to recognize her uncle by donating the proceeds of her lamb in his name.

Chelsea reached out to Mount Nittany Health Foundation because she felt the best way to recognize her uncle was to support patients with cancer.

“As I was watching Chelsea in the sale ring with her lamb, I realized that most of the other hard-working kids were probably going to use the proceeds from the sales of their animals to put back in to their farms, or to buy clothes or even help pay for college. Chelsea’s decision to provide support to local cancer patients is not only generous, but selfless and kind,” said Kim Neely, director, The Foundation for Mount Nittany Medical Center. “We are grateful for Chelsea’s generosity, and inspired by her story.”

Chelsea’s donation will be used to create comfort boxes for cancer patients who are hospitalized. The boxes will include lip balm, mouthwash, water flavor packets, lotions, nail care supplies, lemon drop candies, and other items. These types of items help with mouth issues, medication issues, and general morale. The box lids will have a photo of Chelsea and her lamb, along with Chelsea’s story.

Chelsea’s wishes came true at the Grange Fair. Her lamb sold for $2,500 to Eric Nicholson of Centre Concrete company. The crowd erupted in applause.

“I was so excited. I had expected the lamb to sell for about $1,000,” said Chelsea. “I know my uncle would have been really proud of me.”

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