In the midst of the current political season, it’s easy to find yourself disagreeing with friends, family and neighbors on several political issues. However, nothing quite unites a community, such as Rushford Peterson Valley, like coming alongside someone in need of support.

After Tracey Auman of South Rushford was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer in early April of this year, community members looked to support Auman and her family. Steve and Kristin Burdey, owners of Burdey’s Cafe in Peterson, were able to facilitate a benefit dinner for Auman on May 18.

When all was said and done, Kristin estimates that between 500 and 600 people attended the dinner, raising nearly $10,000.

“Considering that Peterson has the population of about 200, that’s quite a bit,” said Auman.

Auman’s parents, Bill and Carol Liss, have lived in Peterson for over 40 years. “They frequent Burdey’s quite a bit,” shared Auman. The Burdeys approached the couple and asked about hosting a dinner.

“When we heard about her diagnosis, I had this burden on my heart for her,” shared Kristin. “(Carol) was delighted... It’s something we can do for them that they wouldn’t have to do anything for.”

In late 2015, Steve Burdey was hospitalized for compartment syndrome in his leg and, according to Kristin, nearly died after complications. Steve expressed his gratitude to be able to bless the Aumans in the same way that he was blessed during his hospital stay.

It wasn’t just the Burdeys who showed support. Rushford Foods also sponsored the event along with Four Seasons Coffee, WonderInk printing and Thrivent Financial.

After the initial diagnosis, that Auman described as “devastating,” Auman was “overwhelmed” by the support of the community.

She noted that she finds presents and cards left at her house that are anonymous, but show love and support.

“It’s so heartwarming – and heartwarming is too soft of a word – the way people support one another, and the way people look out for one another, and the incredible generosity of people,” shared Kristin.

Currently, Auman is finishing up one round of treatment. She is undergoing aggressive radiation and chemotherapy, which will conclude on June 14.

Doctors have already been able to remove the presented tumor. “Everything they saw, they were able to get out,” she shared.

In July, Auman will begin another round of chemotherapy and radiation. This will go for six months.

In the meantime, Auman is taking in every moment spent with her husband, Trevor, her son, Xander, 14, and daughter, Aubrie, 8.