Residents of Tracy and Mountain House braved triple-digit heat and wildfire smoke to take a stand against cancer during a shorter, stripped-down version of the 2020 Relay for Life of Tracy and Mountain House on Saturday.
2020 is the 20th year in Tracy for the annual fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, which usually features teams walking laps around a course for pledged donations for 12 to 24 hours.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers switched it to a drive-through event to maintain safe distancing and kept it to just three hours.
A total of 26 teams had signed up during the year and raised $37,239 in donations. Six of the teams had representatives at Saturday evening’s relay at the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church parking lot, and they raised $3,000 of the total that night, leaving the Tracy and Mountain House event just about $2,761 short of its $40,000 goal.
Instead of setting up booths and tents, teams decorated vehicles and set up displays in and around their trunks. Cancer survivors drove in the opening lap around the parking lot to the cheers of the watching team members.
Allie Kidd was announced as the Survivor of the Year. She was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma, the most common type of breast cancer, in 2018. Kim Thomassen nominated her and introduced her during the opening ceremonies.
“Allie is a fighter,” Thomassen said. “She’s not given up, and she’s a very, very strong woman, and I’m very proud to say that I know her and she’s a friend.
Allie Kidd doesn't have time to be sick, and she's willing to prove it.
Kidd, a 10-year resident of Tracy who is married with two children, gained some notoriety while she was painting rocks early in her cancer treatment with the Tracy Rocks social media group. This year, Kidd started making decorated cloth masks for people.
Jamie Flint, who led organizing this year’s event, was honored as the Caregiver of the Year. She was nominated by her daughter Ashley Flint, who presented the award.
Ashley Flint said she nominated her mother, who has led the Tracy Relay for Life for the past five years, because of her efforts to help those with cancer, including family and friends, since 2007.
“I think she deserves Caregiver of the Year because she does so much for her family and friends,” she said. “She was always trying to find a way to find a cure for this monster we all call cancer. She is the most selfless person you will ever meet. My mom is the most driven person. She will continue to find a cure for cancer forever.”
In recognition of her work organizing the 20th year of relay, Jamie Flint was presented with a quilt made with team shirts from the 19 previous relays.
After the survivor lap, visitors browsed some of the vendor booths set up in the parking lot. A luminaria ceremony helped close the relay, which went for about three hours.
Organizers hope to celebrate the local relay’s 20th anniversary belatedly with a special event next year.