Two months ago, Manequim was just another nameless ox destined for the slaughterhouse -- now he's a celebrity helping in the fight against cancer. The animal's unlikely rise to fame all began last May when the truck carrying him and dozens of other oxen overturned on the way to a meat-processing facility in Sao Paulo, Brazil. In the commotion that followed, Manequim managed to escape the highway, taking refuge in a nearby boutique. Images of the ox standing alongside the store's clothing displays were widely broadcast, earning the animal its name, national notoriety, and ultimately the power to make a difference in lives of cancer patients.Every year in Brazil, millions of heads of ox are born destined to the slaughterhouse, though perhaps none before has seen such a dramatic change of fate as Manequim. The accident occurred on May 11 when a cattle truck loaded with 22 oxen lost control and overturned, claiming driver's life, along with several animals that had become trapped beneath the wreckage. Traffic along the road came to a halt as ranchers worked to round up the scattered oxen. One animal, however, could not be accounted for at the scene.
Meanwhile, two miles away in the town of São José do Rio Preto, reports came in of a 400 pound ox on the loose. The terrified animal had led a brief rampage before holing up in a clothing store. For nearly an hour, news cameras broadcast the bizarre standoff -- an ox standing behind the boutique's glass display, surreally set alongside mannequins advertising the latest fashion trends.
As volunteers moved in to capture him, the ox dramatically broke through the front window. Eventually the animal was calmed enough to be lead back onto a truck. But by this time, Manequim had already become the biggest bovine star in Brazil.
Naturally, as the public had developed a fondness for the Manequim's story, sending him back to the slaughterhouse seemed unimaginable. Interest in the famous ox was such that authorities decided to auction him off to the highest bidder and the proceeds of which would go to a nearby cancer hospital.
According to a report from Bom Dia, last weekend Manequim was sold for close to $10,000 -- nearly ten times the price normally paid for an ox, and more than enough to make a real difference in the life of a patient undergoing treatment for cancer.
And, of course, the man who bought the famous ox says he has no plans of sending the animal to the slaughter. Instead, Manequim will live out his days on a ranch as a national celebrity -- a far cry from the fate he faced just two months earlier.