Hilmar siblings Allyson and Joshua Sousa know a thing or two when it comes to raising championship winning cattle — and giving back to the community. On June 13, Josh and Allyson entered the Beef Bred Heifer Sale and from their earnings, donated $1,130 to the American Cancer Society.
“Cancer runs deeps in our family. We have lost many loved ones because of it,” said Allyson. “It wasn’t until the passing of our dear friend Mark Perez that made us want to push further with our plans and donate 10 percent of our earning to the American Cancer Society.”
Perez was a friend of the Sousa family for years. His long fight with pancreatic cancer came to an abrupt end in, March leaving friends and family distraught.
“We met Mark two years ago through my grandfather. He would show the best heifers around the area and we started buying their cattle. He came to all of our shows. He encouraged us and believed in everything we did. He was like family,” said Allyson.
Allyson, 15, and Joshua, 11, were among dozens of young contestants who participated at the Beef Bred Heifer Sale through the Merced-Mariposa Cattlemen’s Association during the Merced County Fair.
Joshua has been showing heifers since he was 9, and won a supreme champion last year. Allyson has also had her share of winnings after only one year of competing. She received three supreme champions with a heifer she purchased this year.
“This was our first heifer replacement project that we were a part of. We took care of our animals for many months to make sure they were equipped for the time of their showing,” said Allyson. “While our heifers were being auctioned the announcer told the public about our contribution we were going to make with the American Cancer Society.”
After the auctioning came to an end, one of the buyers approached Josh and helped the siblings with a generous contribution on their quest for raising money.
“She came up to me and handed me a check for $500. She also knew Mark personally and was inspired that at our young age we wanted to help out,” said Josh.
Together, Josh and Allyson raised $630 for the American Cancer Society, and that was added to the $500 from the generous buyer. The Sousa family will continue to raise money for the American Cancer Society through their sales and also serve as an inspiration for other individuals to help rise for the cause.
“I want to inspire other kids to take part in this action. I lost my friend to cancer and if I could help raise money to help fight for the cause, I would do it all over again,” said Josh.