The auction of a 1972 John Deere 4020 raised nearly $500,000 for leukemia research
By Diego Flammini
An Illinois farm auction family used their industry experience to raise money for healthcare awareness and research.
The Sullivans, owners of Sullivan Auctioneers in Hamilton, Ill., auctioned off a 1972 John Deere 4020 diesel tractor on Aug. 22. The family donated all proceeds from the sale, totaling almost $500,000 to the Mayo Clinic to raise awareness and funding for leukemia research.
The decision to hold the benefit auction came from a personal experience.
In August 2020, Michael Sullivan fell ill. The family thought he contracted COVID-19.
The next month, however, he received a diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow.
He began treatment in September 2020 at the Mayo Clinic, which included chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant from his sister, Gracie.
He returned home this summer, is cancer free and is home with his wife, Erin, and their children.
Michael insisted on supporting the Mayo Clinic.
“When we decided to have this benefit auction, Michael and his wife Erin, insisted that 100 percent of the proceeds go directly to Mayo Clinic for leukemia research,” Dan Sullivan, Michael’s father said on Sept. 1, the Daily Gate City reported.
More than 1,000 people attended the Aug. 22 auction with others participating virtually.
Before the tractor auction even started, the event raised $250,000 from a group of local businesses who donated the tractor back for another sale.
The tractor sold a second time for $100,000. That bidder also donated the tractor back.
The third sale ended with a winning bid of $56,000. Along with the sale of other items that day, the benefit auction raised a total of $464,000 for the Mayo Clinic.
"Everything played out. It was just a really nice event,” Dan told the Grand Forks Herald. “A big crowd. We never would have believed it when we started, that we'd be raising half a million dollars for Mayo Clinic.”
Sullivan Auctioneers photo