Buffalo Island St. Jude auction raises $223,057

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The generosity and caring of Buffalo Island residents once again overflowed as did the crowd at Monette First Baptist Family Life Center on Saturday, Feb. 6. It was standing room only as over 700 people gathered for the fourth St. Jude auction/dinner.

The first three Buffalo Island St. Jude auction/dinner events totaled $550,000 for St. Jude and after the February event another $223,057 has been added.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, located in Memphis, is one of the world's premier pediatric cancer research centers. Its mission is to find cures for children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases through research and treatment.

Auctioneer Brandon McLagan kept the bidding lively.

The first Buffalo Island auction/dinner started in 2012 by family members of Scout Lyerly. Scout, seven year old daughter of Erick and Leslie Lyerly, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma when she was almost two years old. The care and treatment she and her family received at St. Jude created a passion in their family to give back.

The first dinner/auction was the idea of Scout's great-uncle Roland Cobb, who died in 2012.

Scout's family joined Roland that first year and together with the support of the community raised $125,000.

Volunteers helped with the bidding.

Since then many others have joined in donating and working to make the event such a success.

The second event raised $185,000 and the third one, held in 2014, raised $240,000.

It has continued to grow and be successful because of the caring people of Buffalo Island.

Representatives of John 3:16 Ministries cooked the fish for this year's event. With the dinner tickets came the opportunity to win one of four door prizes - John Deere tractor mower; 55" television; freezer ready hog; and Apple Ipad.

Scout drew the names for the winners which included Kendra Hawkins for the mower; Lisa Gipson for the television; Angel Farmer for the hog; and Sarah Riddick winning the Ipad.

Sonny Ray Dill introduced the auctioneer, Brandon McLagan of Missouri. He has been named IPRA seven time announcer of the year; four time IFR announcer of the year; Top 10 Auctioneer of the Year; 2016 GM LAC Herried Livestock Finalist of the Year.

He was joined by volunteers including Bo James, Dwight Whitenburg, Greg Adams, Roger Bell, Kenny Qualls, Jamie Strickland, Kevin Austin, Bill Harrell, Darin Owens, Erick Lyerly and others who helped keep the bidding lively.

Leslie shared the journey her family has traveled with Scout over the last five years calling St. Jude Research Hospital a blessing.

"The Buffalo Island St. Jude auction has opened my eyes to the type of people all around me," Leslie said. "Rolland Cobb came up with the first event and now it seems to have a life of its own. All of you have done this. Buffalo Island is an amazing place to live. Thanks to St. Jude my two year old is now my seven year old and in the first grade. She played basketball this morning. She lives life to the fullest every day."

Leslie shared a saying from a friend, Kathryn Joyce, she met at St. Jude.

"God often uses our deepest pain for a launching pad for our greatest callings."

She went on to share the story of how she and Kathryn met met on the second floor of St. Jude's.

"She became a great friend," Leslie said. "She lifted me up. Her daughter, KK, had a brain tumor removed and had a very good prognosis. We had just been told our daughter had a 20 percent chance of survival.

"Her daughter was cancer free for four and a half years, but last May they learned KK's cancer was back."

Leslie went on to share KK passed away in December.

"Every day kids are dying from cancer," Leslie said. "You are making a difference. In the last three events you have raised $550,000. We've heard it is not a good time for the farming community. I know it is true but there is never a good time to be told your child has cancer. Let's do this for St. Jude."

The first item of the auction was a small picture that had belonged to KK. It was sent by her family for the auction.

Before the bidding ceased on the first item, the small picture had been purchased for $15,000 which kicked off the night.

Over 100 items were donated to be auctioned including shotguns, Yeti coolers, seeds, cakes, candies, fishing trips, shotguns, barbecue grills, bicycles, recliners, freezer ready hogs, chemicals, two days of construction labor, duck calls, tools, St. Louis Cardinal box seats for 14, and much more. There was also a silent auction with 250 items donated.

At one of the former events, Scout's grandfather, Steve Cobb, said this is for all of the kids at St. Jude. Buffalo Island residents once again showed their concern and love for the kids.

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