BY SUE SIENS
Lebanon resident Clint Tomlinson, a healthy and hard working 39-year old husband and father, thought he was having gall bladder problems. When he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in June, 2013, he and his wife, Amy, and his parents, Jim and Sharon Tomlinson, were shocked, but optimistic about his ability to fight the disease and win. Family and friends rallied their support, and Clint began chemotherapy.
“Clint was a wonderful son. He was so strong. He never complained, and never gave up hope,” said his mother, Sharon Tomlinson. “We knew it would be hard, but he seemed so healthy, we felt that he would make it.” Clint’s father, Jim, took him to his doctor visits and treatments.
Amy and Clint married in 2006, and have a daughter Macie and son Gavin. Their love sustained them during this crisis, and brought them even closer together. After learning of Clint’s diagnosis, they were surrounded by friends and family who showered them with an outpouring of love, prayers, and support. Friends quickly organized a car wash to help with expenses, raising more than $13,000 and extended many other acts of kindness.
“Clint was determined to live as normal as he could, for as long as he could,” said Amy. “He really loved his work in concrete construction for friends, Jason and Jennie Burton, owners of All-Krete, Inc. He wanted to work during chemo treatments, even if it was only for a few hours a day. He took pride in his work, and had a real talent for it.”
To help with Clint’s mounting medical bills and the family’s other expenses, his mother in-law, Joyce Blair, suggested they seek help through the local non-profit organization, Sherry’s Run. Sherry’s Run assists cancer patients with expenses while they are undergoing treatment. Amy said once they completed the application process, Sherry’s Run began helping with utility bills, medicines, and other expenses. She noted the organization’s assistance was on-going through Clint’s treatment, and she appreciated that they didn’t have to keep going back asking for more help.
One of Clint’s biggest cheerleaders was his first cousin, Alyson Tomlinson Atchley. Clint and Alyson shared a very special bond, born 10 months apart and both only children, they grew up more like sister and brother. She has wonderful memories of all the fun they had while growing up, and their closeness that continued into their adulthood.
In a letter about Clint, she said, “God made us cousins, but our hearts decided long ago that we would be brother and sister. You were such as a loving brother. I am so honored to be your sister. You are the strongest man I have ever known. I am so proud of you.” Noting the happiest she saw Clint was the day he married Amy.
Upon a suggestion from Alyson, they joined Sherry’s Run’s annual fundraising event, a 5-k walk/run, to show their support for Clint during his courageous battle. Alyson organized a team, named Clint’s Crusaders, and had bold blue t-shirts made for their many team members. Clint, Amy, and their children, family, and many close friends participated in the event last year. This year, Clint’s Crusaders will be back in force at Sherry’s Run, to support the needs of other cancer victims and their families. Sadly, Clint will not be joining them. His brave battle against cancer ended in November, 2013. This year, Alyson believes he will be looking down from heaven to see all of the participants.
Says Alyson, “Clint was such a humble man and he wouldn’t want a lot of attention placed on him…. He wanted to walk in Sherry’s Run again this year so badly. I promised him that we would have a big sea of blue walking in honor of him. I sure hope God lets him see it!”
Amy remembers Clint this way, “He was a loving Christian husband and father. He liked the simple things in life; fishing, his family, friends, and his church family (Immanuel Baptist). With Clint I always felt safe and secure, and so loved. He taught me so much.”
The Tomlinson Family invites everyone to join them in honor of Clint, and to support Sherry’s Run this year.
About Sherry’s Run: The Sherry’s Run annual community event to raise fundsincludes a 5-k walk/run race, balloon release, and auctions. This year the event will be held at Wilson Bank & Trust, 623 West Main St., Lebanon, TN, on Sat., Sept. 13, 2014, with registration at 6:30 a.m., and race start and balloon release at 8:00 a.m. For more information or assistance, visit their website at sherrysrun.org or call (615) 925-9932.