Hog auction breaks the bacon bank

Aug 21 2013 - 10:26pm

Images

Courtney Simon rests in her bed at Primary Children’s Medical Center in Salt Lake City.
Courtesy photos
ABOVE: Matilyn Ball, 9, of Farmington, says goodbye to her prize pig, which was sold at the Davis County Fair 4-H Junior Livestock Auction on Saturday. Matilyn donated the money to help Courtney Simon, who has a cancerous tumor that is pressing up against the vital organs of her body. BELOW:
Courtney Simon rests in her bed at Primary Children’s Medical Center in Salt Lake City.
Courtesy photos
ABOVE: Matilyn Ball, 9, of Farmington, says goodbye to her prize pig, which was sold at the Davis County Fair 4-H Junior Livestock Auction on Saturday. Matilyn donated the money to help Courtney Simon, who has a cancerous tumor that is pressing up against the vital organs of her body. BELOW:

FARMINGTON -- The 295-pound hog named Courtney's Famous Pig sold for $4,500 at the Davis County Fair 4-H Junior Livestock Auction on Saturday -- making it a record piggybank for an auction hog sale.

But the hankering for this high-priced bacon is all for a good cause.

Proceeds from the sale of the hog are being donated to Steve and Lindsey Simon, of Farmington, to help the couple cover the medical expenses for their 3-year-old daughter, Courtney Simon, who has a cancerous tumor in her abdominal area.

Courtney is currently home, but once a week she goes to Primary Children's Medical Center for chemotherapy and once every three weeks is hospitalized there for overnight observation.

What makes this pig tale even greater is, the Simon family had no idea they would be a recipient of the hog sale until they were contacted Monday by the Farmington family that made it possible.

Hog owner Matilyn Ball, 9, wanted to work in secret to surprise the Simon family. Being a neighbor to Courtney and attending the same church ward building, Matilyn was aware of Courtney's struggles. Her heart couldn't help but go out to the little girl who is the same age as her younger brother Boston.

"I couldn't help but imagine if it was my brother," Matilyn said Tuesday, after being recognized for her generosity at the regularly scheduled Davis County Commission meeting.

"Thanks for teaching us," County Commissioner Louenda Downs said.

But when Matilyn made the decision to turn the proceeds from the hog over to the Simon family, she had no idea Courtney's Famous Pig would generate the auction price it did.

"I didn't know that I was going to get that much. I was really surprised," the little blonde-haired girl said of the total.

The Simon family was also surprised by the total and the generosity of their neighbor.

"I was just blown away that this girl would think to do that," said Lindsey Simon, Courtney's mother.

"(Matilyn) is truly an angel. I hope some way we can repay her," Simon said. "The heart of this little girl -- how sweet."

It was the day before the Saturday auction, held at the Legacy Events Center, when Matilyn made the decision she was going to give away the proceeds from the hog, said Jon Ball, Matilyn's father.

Seeing her neighborhood friend in distress caused Matilyn to want sell her hog for Courtney, rather than use the money for her own college fund, Ball said.

"I wanted (Matilyn) to understand what that meant," Ball said of his daughter's intentions.

And after talking it over with her, Ball was convinced his daughter knew exactly what she was doing.

His daughter's decision has made their first time with the 4-H Junior Livestock program quite an experience, Ball said.

"It is one of those things that you can't pay for your daughter to learn."

But the 4-H community and its sponsors also deserve some credit.

Hogs at the County Fair 4-H Junior Livestock program generally sell for about $700. But after it was shared that proceeds from Matilyn's hog would be going toward helping her sick 3-year-old neighbor, contributors dug deep, shattering the top price for a fair hog, said Scott Bass, 4-H Junior Livestock superintendent.

"So, people really stepped up," Bass said.

"What happened should have been instigated by an adult," Bass said of the effort, "and we were instructed by a little girl. From out of the mouths of babes."

The Ball family was equally surprised by the support they received.

"Originally, we were just trying to help out," Ball said of the gesture.

Now contributions from those familiar with Courtney's medical condition continue to roll in, and one spectator who attended the auction, spoke of how emotional the people attending the auction became as Matilyn's hog sold.

Matilyn said she enjoys playing soccer and speaking Mandarin Chinese. But she had more fun raising a hog the past five months and preparing it to sell at auction.

"I just really like animals," she said.

And based on the selling price of her 295-pound hog, apparently so do others.

With this experience, Ball said, his daughter was taught the value of money, hard work and helping others.

The Courtney E. Simon Medical Expenses Fund has been established at Wells Fargo Bank, and donations to the account can be made at any of the bank locations.

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