Cokeville 4-H gives back to student with cancer diagnosis

Cokeville 4-H members donated a portion of their livestock proceeds at the Lincoln County Fair to Whytney Murdock (center), a sophomore at CHS who was recently diagnosed with bone cancer. Pictured: Jordyn Nate, Janessa Moody, Michea Petersen, Devan Moody, Colter Nielson, Sydney Nate, Hailey Mackey, Robert Choma, Cody Gustafson, Hunter Wallis and Katie Vigil. Not pictured: Benton Barkdull, Kelli Haderlie, Samantha Schneider and Kaia Barkdull. (GAZETTE PHOTO / Jan Moody)

The Junior Livestock Sale at the Lincoln County Fair was held on Saturday, August 11. Emotions were high as 4-H members across the county were preparing for the culminating event of their 4-H year. They were all hoping to sell their animals and get the big payoff they had worked so hard for all year.

But after the sale began, the mood changed when Whytney Murdock of Cokeville entered the arena with her champion lamb.

There was no longer a feeling of competition, but a feeling of community as everyone banded together to suppor Whytney.

Whytney Murdock is the daughter of Jason and Holli Murdock. She is 16 years old and will be a sophomore at Cokeville High School. She loves sports, especially when she can beat the boys. She plays volleyball, basketball and runs track. She also loves to dance, show lambs and be a part of 4-H. In her spare time she loves hanging out with her friends. Her smile and laugh are infectious.

Thursday, just two days prior to the sale, Whytney’s knee was hurting her again. Her mom took her to Star Valley Medical Center. She was expecting the doctor would tell them that Whytney had a sports injury. They were shocked when the diagnosis came back as bone cancer. The family is awaiting further diagnosis.

Whytney’s mom told her she would take her home and not worry about fair, but Whytney was determined to finish out the fair! She won every single event she competed in.

Whytney and her family are always willing to lend a hand to anyone in need. Saturday, it all came back as fellow 4-H members decided to help out.

Most kids didn’t even know Whytney before that day. But as they sold their animals they had worked so hard to raise, they donated half of their proceeds to help Whytney in her fight against cancer.

4-H became more than winning and making money that day. Everyone there learned that 4-H is about helping others and making each other better. Whytney’s lamb sold for over $41,000, because it was sold and resold eight times. With the money donated by fellow 4-H members, over $61,000 was raised in that arena.

Whytney is determined to beat this cancer and be back to showing lambs and playing sports next year. Whytney and her family learned that day that they are not in this battle alone. On behalf of the Murdock family, thank you to everyone who so generously donated and to the Lincoln County Fair Board.

Whytney Murdock (COURTESY PHOTO / Gayle Johnson)