Senior battling cancer as she raises steer
There is nothing that’s stopping Arlington High senior Brooklyn Sinclair from taking care of her steers.
Not the 30-minute drive she makes twice daily from her home in North Richland Hills to the Arlington ISD Agriculture Science Center.
Not the fact that she made a lot of those drives in the fall while she was undergoing treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma.
Not the fact that Sinclair just found out Tuesday that the lymphoma has returned, and more treatment is in her future.
Nope. There’s no questioning Brooklyn’s dedication to her steers. That dedication paid off in a big way last weekend as Sinclair became the first Arlington ISD student to have her animal earn a spot in the Forth Worth Stock Show Syndicate’s Junior Sale of Champions that benefits Texas 4H and FFA.
By the time the auction for her steer Kerosene was over, Sinclair had earned $47,500! It’s money that she’ll put toward college once she comes down from the high of the historic weekend.
“I was hoping for a lot of money,” said Sinclair, who transferred to the Arlington ISD for her senior year because of ag opportunities. “That’s the goal. We were happy with $20,000, but we were going to be super excited for $50,000. Honestly, I didn’t have a reaction. I didn’t really know what was going on. I was focused on walking Kerosene in the arena and smiling.”
The odds of making it to the Saturday auction are staggering. More than 4,0000 steers are entered in the competition and only the top 270 make it to the big auction. Sinclair was one of only three students from Tarrant County schools to make it that far.
Sinclair purchased Kerosene last May and then put in the work to have him ready for the stock show. The two almost didn’t get together because Kerosene wasn’t high on a lot of people’s lists when it came time to get a new steer.
“I did not want a Hereford, but my breeder talked me into getting one,” Sinclair said. “I actually paid a little less than we were supposed to pay. I think we paid $1,700 and normally they run $5,000 or higher. We got him a little cheaper because no one wanted him because he pictured bad. They thought he was ugly. We had some insight from someone who saw him in person.”
Kerosene remained in Weatherford until Sinclair started school. But getting to the start of school was tough because Sinclair was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma over the summer. She had been feeling tired, and after visits to the doctor, the cancer was discovered. But in true Sinclair fashion, she wasn’t going to let cancer keep her from going to her new school on the first day.
She did that and then missed the rest of the week because of chemo treatments. The chemo treatments lasted for three months, but Sinclair was always focused on her school, her animals and making livestock shows.
“That’s one of my favorite things to tell people,” Arlington High School welding teacher and ag advisor Jordan Williams said. “All she wants to do is show. She told us when they try to schedule chemo she told them she has a show and had to load up a trailer on Friday and show on Saturday. So they had to work the chemo around that. It’s funny and insane. I know if I was in the same position, I’d want to get the cancer taken care of.”
But that’s not the way Sinclair is wired. She only sees the cancer as a roadblock in the way of her accomplishing goals like going to Tarleton State (where she’s already accepted) or Texas Tech and then going on to vet school.
She’s got too much to do to dwell on cancer.
“It’s bad, but it’s life,” she said. “Once you see a lot of little kids going through it you know you can do it, too.”
Her mother, Amanda Sinclair, said her daughter got involved in ag because of the family atmosphere. It’s been a huge help, especially given everything Brooklyn has gone through this year. The staff and students at the center filled in and helped out when Brooklyn was undergoing cancer treatments.
“The staff at the Arlington barn has been amazing,” Amanda Sinclair said. “We felt so welcome there. They run their program like it’s one big family. That’s the support these kids need.”
While Brooklyn Sinclair is only spending her senior year in the district, the impact she and Kerosene made is huge for the ag program in the district.
“That’s the biggest goal you can have is to make it to that stage at these majors,” Williams said. “For FFA programs, it can be difficult because it’s a school-done thing. A lot of these kids that make it to that stage are doing it from private ranches. They work their animal whenever they want. Brooklyn is under constraints here and driving, too. It’s huge for our program. People don’t realize Arlington ISD has an FFA program because of where we’re at you wouldn’t expect that. This puts us on the map, and lets people know we can compete in a city.”
Sinclair’s not done either. While figuring out the next steps in her cancer journey, Sinclair is working with Kerosene’s best friend Chubbs. Her goal is to have Chubbs ready for the next big competition in March at the Houston Livestock Rodeo.
Of course, cancer treatments will have to find their way into that schedule on her terms.
“I don’t want it mixing up my shows and competitions,” Brooklyn said. “I want to live my life. My animals always come before me.”