From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 7, Number 20 - August 9, 2007
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Piney 4-Her donates $500 from steer sale to Kickin’ Cancer
Tanner Porter wants to benefit group that helped when sister was ill.
by Joy Ufford

Tanner Porter, 9, a first-year 4-H member from Big Piney, had a long wait Sunday afternoon for his turn in the Sublette County Fair’s Junior Livestock Sale at number 82 of 87 fellow 4-Hers selling their fair stock.

Not only was he a little nervous about selling his first steer, Porter had another announcement to make after he entered the ring. As he led his steer into the ring, Sublette County 4-H agent Robin Schamber announced Porter’s name, saying he had purchased his steer from the Reservoir Ranch and Jay and Becky Downs “right here in Sublette County.” “He said something on hisway into the ring and told someone who told us,” Schamber said later.

What Porter told them, she then relayed to the crowd of patient livestock buyers, sale watchers and family supporters. “Tanner is donating $500 from his sale to Kickin’ Cancer in Sublette County,” she announced, and the crowd reacted with spontaneous applause.

Ring man Steve James, a cancer survivor and president of Kickin’ Cancer in Sublette County, held out his hand, palm up, and Porter slapped him a strong “five.” When the sale ended, Porter had sold his 1,225-pound steer to his great-grandparents, Big Piney ranchers Gordon and Margaret Mickelson for $7.25 a pound.

For his sister

What some people knew, and others didn’t until later, is that Porter’s little sister Ivy, now 7, endured rigorous treatment for leukemia beginning when she was 2 years old, said his mother Liz Porter. Porter said she didn’t know how the family could keep their home with the high costs of treatments and travel expenses to and from Salt Lake City.

“I don’t know how people in larger communities deal with stuff like that, without having the support from smaller communities,” she said. “Wewere struggling those first couple ofmonths.” Kickin’ Cancer in Sublette County was just being formed and shortly after Ivy’s treatment began, self-proclaimed “troublemaker” and secretary April Lippincott called thePorters.

“When they got ready to start up, April and Kickin’ Cancer called and told us to add it all up so they could reimburse us for food, gas,motel and doctor bills,”Liz said. Ivy was the first Sublette County cancer victim to receive the group’s financial assistance. She was declared cancer-free two years ago.

So when Tanner prepared to sell his steer, his mom mentioned that it “sounded like a good idea” to offer the $500 donation to pass on help to future cancer victims, she said. He agreed readily.

“I said it was a good idea, ”Tanner recalled. ”Because April and Kickin’ Cancer helped out our family.”

A$500 donation will be an annual part of Tanner’s steer sale, he said. “We’re going tomake it a yearly thing,” his mother said. “Every year we’re going to donate $500 toKickin’Cancer andwhen Ivy gets old enough, shewill too.” Portersaidbecausethecommunityhelped her family, it is important toher thather children understand how good it is to return something to the community. This summer, Ivy sold homemade lemonade to raise about $1,500 for the Primary Children’s Hospital to buy wagons for the kids that are patients there.

Making others feel good

Although Carl Porter works seven days a week and was unable to come with his family Tuesday for this interview, he saidMonday night that hewas thrilledwith his son’s decision tomake the donation.

“I was pretty proud of the little guy myself,” he said. Kickin’ Cancer of Sublette County was holding a meeting at Daniel Junction during this interview, with president Steve James, vice president Norman Pape and Lippincott pausing to honor Tanner’s selfless gesture.

“I think it’s super,” James said. “A young kid on the right track, being able to help people out; it shows how much he thinks of his little sister; all the things that make you feel good when you help someone out.

“We did the old fiver didn’t we,” he said to Tanner, who nodded and smiled as much as he had that morning. Pape also expressed his admiration of Tanner’s thoughtfulness.

“It was a wonderful gesture on his part,” Pape said. “It shows his concern on his part for the needs of others... It’s a lesson to others that he has shown this compassion and concern. We really appreciate what this young man has done.”

Doing something like Tanner did for someone else is part of what 4-H is meant to instill in young people, Schamber said. “I was very excited,” she said. “That’s the first time I’ve ever seen a kid donate their money at a sale.He really choked me up.”

She pointed out that fellow 4-Her Sunny Raper, who is battling lymphoma, was also present to show and sell her market swine even though she is fighting her cancer with chemo treatments. “That’s part of 4-H, the learning experience,” Schamber said. “It’s not about money; it’s about being responsible and building character.”

Tanner’s goal comes last

Tanner’s goal from selling steers was to someday have enough money from his to buy himself a tractor lawnmower. After making the $500 donation, he’ll pay $300 to grandpa Jimmy Mickelson for the steer, $100 to hisUncleRowdy and $700 to the Mickelsons’ Circle Cattle Company for grain.The rest is his to work with.

“I did get my goal on the very first try,” Tanner said, andMonday his mother took him to Home Depot so he could check out the tractor lawnmowers.

His difficult choice now is between a Cadet Cub and a John Deere, he said, and he wanted to test-drive both before he makes up his mind. The Porters and Mickelsons have plenty of yard work around the ranch and homes he can help with on whichever model he buys. “Grandpa has a little circle field he cut with the swather in front of his house,” Tanner said. “I’m going to trim all the spots he missed.”

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