West Bountiful teen helps cancer patients through through 4-H goat project

Saturday , September 23, 2017 - 3:45 AM

JANAE FRANCIS, Standard-Examiner Staff

WEST BOUNTIFUL — Thanks to a Bountiful Junior High student, two small goats are improving the lives of a large number of cancer patients.

When 14-year-old Kayla Christensen of West Bountiful decided to donate a few hundred dollars from the sale of a 4-H goat, the project quickly grew to two goats and $3,200.

Kayla raised thousands of dollars for a family with a boy fighting cancer when sponsors and donors jumped on board, giving her much more than the expected amount. 

With insurance paying for most of their costs, the family of 7-year-old Logan Murphy decided to share the funds with other cancer patients through toys and gifts.

“I felt really good helping one family but they took it one step forward,” Kayla said. “Knowing that they also didn’t want to take it all for themselves and wanted to help some other people was pretty cool.”

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Kayla said she was surprised to see how her efforts started a ripple effect.

“Watching everyone come together to help Logan, it was amazing,” she said.

Besides the funds she got from the sale of the first goat at the Davis County Fair — around $1,000 from Les Swab Tires, Kayla raised nearly $500 from a gofundme.com page.

She sold her second goat at the Utah State Fair to four sponsors for $1,000 and then auction participants raised their auction paddles to agree to donate another $25 a piece for Kayla’s cause. She raised about $1,600 at each of the two events when all donations were added. 

“Now that I have done it, I think that I want to do it every year,” Kayla said. “I want to set aside a different animal and find a different cause to donate to.”

For the last six years, she said selling her animals at the fair has helped her college savings account to grow.

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Because she also was going to sell sheep at auction this year and she earned a paycheck from her efforts with the 4-H 100-day Mustang Challenge, Kayla said she thought she could share some of her good fortune.

“I just saw (Logan’s mother’s) Facebook post,” Kayla said. “It really hit home with me having little brothers. I thought if I could do a little something to help them out, it might relieve some of the stress.”

Logan’s mother, Dana Murphy, said the effort has eased more than the family’s financial burdens.

“It has inspired and touched everyone who knows about it just to see how community teenagers and 4-H kids are,” Murphy said. “They are able to look outside themselves.”

When Murphy’s family saw all the kindness shown to them, they were grateful. “A lot of people have touched us,” Murphy said.

She was amazed to see how Kayla “didn’t even consider” keeping the money for college or for whatever she will do in the future, she said.

Originally, from the time Kayla presented her plan to the Murphy family, the idea was for Logan to help her with the Davis County Fair goat, Leroy, throughout the summer.

Logan was diagnosed with a blastemal wilms tumor in his kidney May 2. Murphy said her son he ended up being too sick throughout the summer to help.

“Kayla did all the work and we were spoiled,” Murphy said. “She had to do the hard work in the background.”

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Kayla said she spent about an hour a day with each of the two goats, preparing them for the show ring.

It didn’t seem like a lot of work to Kayla, she said, as she loves animals.

It’s a love that is apparent to all those around her.

Jami Bollschweiler is a Utah photographer who has taken pictures of Kayla and her animals.

“Kayla is a master at her craft and it shows in her work. Her dedication is rare," Bollschweiler said.

Bollschweiler took a picture of Kayla showing her young wild Mustang horse she trained for 100 days in the 4-H Mustang Challenge.

“I was very impressed with her handling of the Mustang she trained and how she radiates love towards animals,” Bollschweiler said. 

You may reach reporter JaNae Francis at jfrancis@standard.net or 801-625-4228. Follow her on Twitter at @JaNaeFrancisSE or like her on Facebook at facebook.com/SEJaNaeFrancis. 




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