Cancer patient Chris Cummings' wish came true Dec. 2 on the 2006 Hoosier Beef Congress livestock arena floor. The 15-year old from Union Mills, IN, showed a Hereford steer at the Congress, thanks to a wish granted by the Indiana Children's Wish Fund.

Undergoing chemotherapy in Indianapolis earlier this year, Chris applied for a wish through the Center for Children's Cancer and Blood Diseases. He chose to receive and show a steer.

Chris chose Hereford because he likes the look of the breed and had shown a Hereford steer before at the La Porte County Fair. But the caliber of the Congress was a whole new experience, with more than 1,400 cattle exhibited. He enjoyed the event with his parents, Tom and Carol, and brother Tom.

In addition to the steer, the Indiana Children's Wish Fund gave Chris an aluminum grooming chute, combs, halters and other fitting supplies.

Members of Chris' community also helped. Family friend Les Craft helped acquire the Hereford steer from Larry Vukonich of Joliet, MT, and broke the steer to lead. Neighbor Dan Youngreen helped with clipping and grooming, and more friends -- Joy Griffin, Rob Fisher and Dave Ambers -- helped with items like transportation and show entries.

In the end, Chris' steer stood sixth in its class of 11 at the Congress. The Hereford steer, Bob, remains at the Cummings farm, and Chris plans to show him at the county fair this summer, and possibly even the Michigan Beef Expo.

"If people knew what the wish does for a kid, a lot more people would be donors," Carol says. "It's absolutely phenomenal." She explains that when Chris found out about the wish, his chemotherapy went a lot easier, and Chris now looks forward to feeding his steer each morning.
-- Teresa Oe, American Hereford Association