Waylon Klitzman stood outside the Rock County sales arena Friday morning, the hubbub of the meat animal sale swirling around him.
Wearing a giant grin, the 15-year-old watched as a heap of onlookers wagered for lambs, swine and grand champion winners.
“I feel great right now,” he said. “I just feel great.”
Waylon’s 6-month-old pig, Roo, had just been auctioned off and sold four times. A buyer purchased the pig, donated it back, and another buyer did the same—for four rounds. In the end, Roo sold for about $10,070.
But Waylon won’t be keeping the money. Instead, he will donate it all to Beat Nb, a national nonprofit organization that funds research for neuroblastoma.
Waylon had the idea after his teacher at Evansville High School, Kim Katzenmeyer, told students in May she was retiring at the end of the year after 22 years of teaching.
Katzenmeyer said she wanted to devote her time to fighting neuroblastoma, a debilitating form of childhood cancer. Witnessing her niece, 4-year-old Harlow Phillips, fight the cancer moved Katzenmeyer to become a full-time advocate for neuroblastoma research.
After Katzenmeyer made her announcement, Waylon said he was saddened to say goodbye to his teacher. So one day, he showed up early to class and gave Katzenmeyer $52.
“Waylon showed up in my classroom waiting for me one morning and said, ‘Here’s everything I got. I want to put it to your cause,’” Katzenmeyer said. “It was incredible. I can’t even tell you.”
Then Waylon told Katzenmeyer he would grow pumpkins on 3 acres of farmland, sell them and donate the proceeds to Beat Nb.
Coupled with the money from Roo’s sale, Katzenmeyer said Waylon’s impact on Harlow—and children across the country with neuroblastoma—will be consequential.
“He’s just a one-in-a-million kid, this guy,” Katzenmeyer said. “When kids take that kind of responsibility and make decisions like that, it gives me hope for the future. It really does.”
Waylon’s gesture is not the first made in Harlow’s name. In February, Harlow’s cousin Logan Katzenmeyer and his friend Kellan Sunness dedicated their high school senior project to Harlow.
They organized a princess and superhero ball fundraiser, where they raked in more than $90,000 for neuroblastoma research, Beat Nb and Harlow’s family.
Then earlier this month, Harlow’s father, Andy, broke ground on a house he intends to sell to make another donation to Beat Nb.
These acts of support for Harlow underscore the community’s willingness to lend a hand, Katzenmeyer said. She said Waylon is no exception.
“Our community is outstanding,” Katzenmeyer said. “This is one kid that decided to take it upon himself. I think he saw something in this cause, and it touched a nerve for him. I could not be more proud of him.
“I don’t know. I’m speechless.”