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Shiner comes together for former school mascot

Sonny Long

By Sonny Long
July 18, 2013 at 2:18 a.m.

Ali Beal and son Jaxon, 1. Beal has been diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, a cancer that normally strikes children.

It's what friends do for friends.

Organizing Saturday's Rally for Ali - a fundraiser to help defray medical expenses for 22-year-old cancer patient Ali Beal - has been a labor of love.

"Ali has been a big part of this community, helping out wherever she can. She's really involved," said Lauren Michalec, a friend since seventh grade and college roommate. "We felt like we owed this to her. She's just an awesome person."

In March, Beal was diagnosed with Stage 3 localized Ewing's sarcoma of the cervical spine, a rare form of bone cancer that strikes mostly children and adolescents.

Friend Ashley Nance was with Beal when she got the news.

"Her son, Jax, was there, and she said she had to beat this for him," said Nance, tears streaking down her face.

Jaxon turned 1 in January.

Michalec said her friend has already had to overcome a lot in her life.

"Her dad died in a car wreck when she was 12," she said. "I just admire her spirit and her strength. She's so beautiful inside and out."

Crissy Machacek also remembers Beal from school.

"I teach high school English. I taught Ali for three years," she said. "She was the high school mascot. She was one of the greatest mascots we've ever had."

Friends and family began organizing the fundraiser in May.

"It's been kind of a blur," said Michalec. "It's been a great group of people that have put it together. We were thinking we had plenty of time, and now it's here. It's nerve-wracking and exciting."

Saturday's Rally for Ali at the Knights of Columbus Park in Shiner includes a 5K walk/fun run, washer tournament, chicken bingo, 52-card draw, a raffle and a pork steak dinner.

Meal tickets are $8 and available in advance at many Shiner merchants or the day of the event. The meal, dine in or plates-to-go, will be served from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Event T-shirts will also be for sale.

It is Shiner, so there's music, too.

From 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., Chris Rybak will perform in the biergarten.

Inside the hall, the music starts at 6 p.m. with Kendra Krupala and Charlie Bock, Los Kolaches at 7:15 p.m., and Damon Billimek and Jade Patek at 8:30 p.m.

Headliner Mark McKinney will take the stage at 10 p.m.

Tickets are $10.

Shiner Dental is sponsoring McKinney's appearance.

On Sunday, a four-person golf scramble will be at the Yoakum Golf Course.

Beal is currently at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and next week will undergo her sixth chemotherapy treatment.

Her friends are keeping up with Beal's progress.

"She's doing good for the most part," said Nance. "She has those times right after treatments, but other than that she has one of the best outlooks I can imagine."

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