CANTIL — Dozens gathered Saturday at Jawbone Canyon Store’s outdoor patio to listen to an eclectic group of classic rock and raise awareness about cancer and money to provide local assistance.

This year’s rally, sponsored and hosted by the East Kern Health Care District, occurred in the place of an annual walk. While both the rally and the run occur each year, the novel coronavirus forced the cancelation of the others.

But it didn’t stop the district from continuing its mission to raise money for local services, according to Connie Bentley, an EKHCD board member and co-chair of the cancer assistance fund.

“All the money raised 100% stays local for Mojave, Cantil and California City,” Bentley said. “If anyone has cancer or assistance, they can call or send a letter to the health care district.”

Assistance provided ranges between $200 and $2,000, depending on a patient’s needs. 

In addition to fundraisers such as the walk and rally, the EKHCD raises money through donations from local businesses, community members and the district.

The funds are distributed through an independent community board with oversight from the district’s board of directors. Recipients must be local to the district’s area of influence, such as California City or Mojave.

People can submit a form to East Kern Health Care District Cancer Assistance Fund, PO Box 2546, California City, CA 93504 or call 760-373-2804.

In the past, the walk/rally raised between $10,000 and $12,000, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bentley said funds raised might be a fraction.

The California City/Mojave area lack cancer treatment or screening services. Most residents must either seek treatment in Bakersfield, Lancaster/Palmdale or Ridgecrest Regional Hospital in Ridgecrest, depending on the level or type of treatment needed.

She thanked the owners of Jawbone Canyon Store, Mark and Letty Cobian, for opening up the patio to the event.

“Without this, we would have raised nothing,” Bentley said. 

A raffle for prizes and 50/50 drawings was sold and the band Blue Steel performed live on stage.

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