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Oct. 28 event benefits Bertram teen with kidney failure

Ali Thomas, 14, of Bertram

Ali Thomas, 14, of Bertram has been battling kidney failure for over a year. An Oct. 28 benefit at the Burnet County Fairgrounds will raise money to ease the financial burden caused by her compounding medical bills. Staff photo by Nathan Bush

A fundraiser for 14-year-old Bertram resident Ali Thomas, who is battling kidney failure, will include a fun run, a car show with trunks full of free candy, and dancing. It takes place Saturday, Oct. 28, at the Burnet County Fairgrounds, 1301 Houston Clinton Drive in Burnet.

Money raised from the event will go toward COTA for Ali’s Fight, the teen’s personal fundraising account through the Children’s Organ Transplant Association.

“COTA for Ali’s Fight holds the money for when she needs it medically,” said Sandi Hickman, the girl’s aunt and the fundraiser’s organizer. “It will help with her needs associated with a transplant and the treatment that she gets.”

Ali was originally diagnosed with kidney failure in September 2021 following a visit to the emergency room for a stomach ache. Doctors diagnosed her with Stage 5 kidney failure in October 2022 and placed her on dialysis. 

“She’s had a rough year,” Hickman said. “It’s been hard on her.”

Issues with Ali’s dialysis port have further complicated her recovery. To make matters worse, doctors are now concerned with the condition of her heart.

“She goes to the cardiologist on (Oct. 27), and they’ll do some tests to see what’s going on,” Hickman said. “Her heart rate is rushing constantly.”

The upcoming benefit aims to give Ali and her family new hope as medical bills mount. 

“People coming out and showing their support will help encourage Ali,” Hickman said. “Hopefully, this all will give her a boost to keep fighting.” 

The action begins early with an 8 a.m. fun run for all ages. Runners will follow a kidney-shaped route at the fairgrounds to pay homage to the benefit’s mission. Awards go to the top three finishers.

Classic cars with trunks full of free Halloween candy will be on display from 7 a.m.-12:30 p.m. as owners vie for top 20 honors. 

The event ends with dancing from 6 p.m. to midnight. Music will be provided by Double Eagle Entertainment. The dance features a costume contest. Categories include best individual costume, best couples costume, funniest costume, and scariest costume.

No admission price is set for any of the three main activities.

“We’re asking for donations only,” Hickman said.

For more information about the fundraiser, email or