Cindy Arnold arrived for work at Park Med Urgent Care clinic in Alcoa recently and was surprised to see her scrubs didn’t match what everyone else was wearing.
“Oh, you all look just alike today,” Cindy Arnold said to her co-workers at the clinic in Maryville. “I didn’t get the memo.”
A closer look at their scrubs told a different story. The pink scrubs displayed the breast cancer awareness ribbon. Her friends were showing her they were fighting alongside her.
It was Arnold’s first day back to work since her lumpectomy when her co-workers greeted her with their matching attire. Such a show of support, however, wasn’t the first one. Arnold was diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer. Many of the staff walked in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure held in Knoxville on Oct. 11 in pink, tie-dyed shirts and “In Honor of Cindy Arnold” signs taped on their backs.
“This was a true testament of their love for me,” Arnold said, with tears in her eyes. “Their support was given at a time I needed it the most.”
Arnold is the civic administrator for Park Med Urgent Care clinics on Gill St. and John Sevier Highway. Her coworkers, her husband, Tony Arnold, and her daughters Chrissy Crouch and Kelly Joe Arnold, and her grandsons, Carson Crouch and Caden Arnold, have been a constant source of support, Arnold said.
“I will never forget the date,” she said. Arnold was diagnosed with breast cancer and Hodgkin’s disease on Sept. 2. Arnold said she finds love and support from all areas of her life at home, work and church.
Her friends say she works hard to make the best of her situation.
“She’s a fighter” co-worker Kristi Lane said. “She didn’t want us to get down. She wanted us to stay positive for her, because she said from the beginning that she was going to beat it.”
The staff at Park Med said they get excited about two things: UT football and Cindy Arnold. In addition to baking delicious homemade cookies, Arnold throws office Christmas parties the staff said can’t be beat.
Each member of the staff receives gifts and ornaments handmade by Arnold. But it is her compassionate spirit that makes her so special, they said. “You can call her up in the middle of the night if you have a problem, and she would be there for you,” Lane said.
“She was always like a second mom to me” Mandy Garland added.
Arnold has also made an impact at her church, RIO Central. “When I think of Cindy Arnold, I think of a spiritual leader” Pastor Ronnie Hepperly said. “She is an inspiration to be around.”
Hepperly prayed for Arnold on the hospital ward before her surgery. Now Hepperly calls her regularly to help her stay focused on her faith. “Rough seas make great sailors,” Hepperly said, adding that Arnold’s positive spirit and unfaltering faith are exceptional.
Arnold said there are some things about her that will never change. The cancer survivor said she will always be a “boy’s nana,” bass fishing with her husband and taking her daughters to Hilton Head each summer. Every Christmas, she watches her favorite movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and she will also always have faith.
“I’m a Christian woman. That’s how I would identify myself,” said Arnold. “I want to live a life that those who know Cindy but didn’t know the Lord would come to the Lord because they know Cindy.”
Since she was diagnosed, Arnold said she values every day and takes nothing for granted. “The biggest change is being able to allow people to help me,” Arnold said.
Arnold was scheduled to begin chemotherapy Nov. 10.
While friends said Arnold’s devotion to the workers and patients at Park Med reflects her servant’s heart, now she must rely on others to serve her. Arnold said she is blessed by her doctors, Dr. David Hancock and Dr. John Bell, and even as chemotherapy starts she will be surrounded by the love and support of her friends and family.
Perry Ogle first came to Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson as a customer.
After he bought a motorcycle he started a friendship with dealer Scott Maddux that later led him to take a job as a salesperson. Eventually Ogle became sales manager and the friendship between Ogle and the other employees at the dealership grew.
“He is an ex-Navy guy, a real tough guy, a real friendly, likeable family guy. He started getting sick, and we didn’t really know what it was. He was losing strength and his appetite. Then he was diagnosed with cancer,” Maddux said of the mid-August diagnosis of cancer in Ogle’s lungs and bones. “It’s been a really accelerated process from that point forward. This all happened about four months ago.”
Co-worker Tracey Farr said Ogle first realized something was wrong when he started having shoulder pain. “Then he finally couldn’t work. We thought he had pneumonia. They diagnosed it - but he’s fighting. That has been his take from the beginning,” she said. “He’s been inspired by all the love and support he’s gotten. He has a room full of Harley banners and photos.”
While scheduling for October, the shop decided to have a concert and auction to benefit Perry. The concert with the band Kincaid happened Oct. 18.
“It came together over the course of two weeks,” Maddux said. “Tracey Farr got involved and Angie Cole got real involved with it. Lots of our staff got involved. We have one of our guys, Dave Rueland, has been working with Harley-Davidson for 35 years. He has amassed an enormous collection of Harley-Davidson memorabilia and collectables and we raised over $2,000 just on his items alone.”
Farr said most of the items auctioned that night belonged to Rueland. Nobody expected the response they got from the public at the concert and auction, Maddux said.
“What was amazing, none of us expected what happened that night. The people who were here, the riders, how generous the people were and how generous our staff was. Our people were buying lots of the stuff as well, It was really overwhelming,” he said. “It was interesting to see something we put together as quickly as we did to have as real an impact as it did.”
Farr said they deposited $7,600 into Ogle’s account - $5,000 (from auction items) and the rest was loose money.
Maddux said during the auction portion of the event, he played it by ear. “When we started it, we didn’t really know what we were going to do. We had never had an auction. I grabbed an employee and said, ‘You’ve got to be my Vanna White’ and Angie Cole wrote a description of each items,” Maddux said.
Farr used some creativity to make the auction interesting. “We had flaming bidding paddles,” she said.
“We got $400 for a Harley-Davidson Barbie doll,” Maddux said.
Maddux said the people buying items at the auction weren’t wealthy. “These are not members of the yacht club, they’re Middle America at it’s best,” he said. “It was moving to see people really giving like this. Some knew Perry and had a relationship and lots knew it was somebody that was one of us. They knew he was fellow rider.”
Farr said about 300 people turned out for the event.
At about that same time, Maddux was having a Blount County Chamber mixer at the dealership and met Steve Mitchell with Modern Woodmen of America. “They told me what their organization did and that they would like help us out and that inspired us,” he said.
This was when the staff opted to do a silent auction for members of the public to participate. “People got excited and donated items and wanted us to continue and then we found this opportunity to do matching funds. If we raise at least $2,500, Modern Woodmen of America would match it,” Farr said.
Employees also are getting in on the action. “We raised another $700 in loose cash. Our employees are doing payroll deduction,” Maddux said.
Farr and Maddux praised Ogle’s wife, Theo, for caring for him. A video image captured Theo Ogle’s comments to the crowd the evening of the auction/concert.
“All the love I see here tonight, I can’t thank everyone enough,” she said. “He fights everyday to be even more part of (Scott’s) dream. This is what Harley-Davidson is about -- it’s about family. This kind of family is what you get with Harley-Davidson. Take a look around, be thankful each and every day. We sure have been blessed. Thank you.”
Staff at Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson often help with fundraisers for community charities but this benefit hit close to home because they were raising money to help their colleague.
“It’s never been as personal as this,” Farr said.