Clint’s Crusaders has become a staple team of the Sherry’s Run 5K event, but this year, the team will be without its champion – Clint Tomlinson.
The 2014 Sherry’s Run 5K will be held in memory of Tomlinson. His positive attitude and loving spirit are just two of several reasons Sherry’s Run chose to honor Tomlinson’s memory at this year’s event, organizers said.
In 2005, Clint and Amy Tomlinson began dating and were soon married. Both Clint and Amy had children of their own and were excited to become a family together. Clint’s 8-year-old daughter, Macy, became a big sister to Amy’s toddler son, Gavin.
“Clint was the best thing that ever happened to me. He took care of us and always made our family feel loved and secure,” Amy said.
In May 2013, life changed for the Tomlinson family. Amy noticed Clint’s color was off, and he complained of fatigue. She insisted he see a doctor, and after many tests, Clint was diagnosed with Stage 2 pancreatic cancer. At this time, the doctors gave the family lots of hope for a full recovery. Clint was even a candidate for a new experimental surgery.
Clint’s story with Sherry’s Run began just a few months later when Amy requested more information about forming a team. Rather than being discouraged about his recent cancer diagnosis, Clint wanted to find ways to help other families such as their own. Amy’s mother who is an employee at Lochinvar, a longtime sponsor of Sherry’s Run, suggested Amy should call.
“Clint was so positive throughout,” said Amy. “I never heard him complain, even when I knew he was hurting.”
When Sherry’s Run learned Clint was not just participating in the run, but also a cancer patient, it immediately offered assistance. Throughout Clint’s illness, Amy heard frequently from Tonyia Watson, director of patient assistance.
“Tonyia reached out to me every month. I didn’t even have to think about asking for help. She just took care of it. That was such a relief with everything else I had to think about,” said Amy.
Whether it was sending gas and grocery cards, paying their electric bill or just an email to check on the family, Sherry’s Run was a constant support to the Tomlinsons.
“I am so glad that there are organizations like Sherry’s Run to help people get through this awful thing called cancer,” Amy said.
Throughout Clint’s life, he was passionate about helping others. After his diagnosis, Clint’s passion grew and he continued to help in any way he could. One way that Clint was able to help others was by sharing his faith.
“We were so proud of Clint and his faith in God. He was brave, and showed so much strength,” said his parents, Jim and Sharon Tomlinson.
Clint’s faith, strength and compassion inspired others to become involved with “Clint’s Crusaders.” Those affected by Clint participated by walking, running, or donating, helping to raise thousands of dollars to benefit other families effected by cancer.
Just a few weeks after Clint and his team participated in the 2013 Sherry’s Run event, Clint received some bad news. Despite his chemo treatments, the cancer had progressed from Stage 2 to Stage 4, and the doctors were giving him less than a year to live. In November, Clint lost his battle with pancreatic cancer.
“When he passed away, he was praising God,” said Amy.
Clint’s life ended just as he lived it, with a deep faith.
Sherry’s Run continued to be a big support to the Tomlinson family.
“I don’t know how we would have gotten through Christmas without Sherry’s Run,” said Amy. “With everything the kids were going through, I was so thankful to be able to keep the holidays as normal as possible for them.”
Clint’s parents also expressed gratitude to Sherry’s Run.
“We just couldn’t have done it without you, our family, friends and church. It’s just what gets you by,” they said.
“Sherry’s Run is thankful for the opportunity to be a small part of a legacy like Clint’s. His impact will continue to change lives and give hope for many years to come,” said Watson.
Clint’s legacy continues with his team hoping to raise even more donations for the upcoming event.
“Clint wanted to be at Sherry’s Run every year. That’s how much he believed in this cause, so that is exactly what we’re going to do” said Amy.
Each year at the Sherry’s Run event, green balloons are released with the names of cancer patients on them. On Oct. 7, 2013, someone found the green balloon with Clint’s name on it and posted a message to the Sherry’s Run Facebook page.
Soon after Clint’s passing, Amy read about the balloon sighting and said, “Oct. 7 is a special day for Clint and I. It marks our first date. I felt like Clint gave me a wink when I saw that.”
“There are so many wonderful people in our community that want to help those in need, they just don’t have an avenue to assist, Sherry’s Run is that avenue. We connect those that want to help to those that need help,” said Watson. “What better way to honor and remember those we love that have battled cancer than to support an organization that is changing the lives of cancer patient’s right here in Wilson County and the surrounding communities. You have that opportunity.”
The 11th annual Sherry’s Run is scheduled for Sept. 13 at 8 a.m. at 623 W. Main St. in Lebanon. Registration is open at sherrysrun.org.
The support allows Sherry’s Run to assist cancer patients 52 weeks a year with gas, groceries, utility bills, housing payments, prescription assistance, health insurance premiums, medical bills and colonoscopy assistance.
To learn more about Sherry’s Run, call 615-925-2592. To refer someone who might qualify for assistance, call 615-925-9932 or visit sherrysrun.org.