ARCANUM—The local Chrome Divas of Greenville recently presented Tammy Smith of Arcanum, with 70 percent of the proceeds they raised in a poker run June 18 at the Greenville VFW for her in her quest to refurbish her home by putting in addition to her home to cater to her medical needs.
The other 30 percent is being donated to the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society. The total was $6,958.53, and Tammy’s share was $4,871.04. Chrome Divas, Inc., was formed as a social organization to offer women motorcycle enthusiasts the opportunity to ride together, have fun and to reach out to the community through participating in raising funds for local organizations.
The seven-member Chrome Divas Greenville group formed four years ago, founded by Connie Smith, the former director before Kasey Widener took over. Other members of the group are Assistant Director Bri McDonald, Stacy Harding, Christine Fehrenbach, Deb :Pollic and Amber DeRegnacourt.
Smith was diagnosed with MS in 2000 and is now bound to a scooter.
From Englewood, she and husband Kurt came to Darke County 26 years ago. They are 1982 graduates of Northmont High School, and she graduated in 1986 from college.
“I had to quit working in 2007,” said Tammy, who was a surgical technician and first assistant in surgery at Miami Valley Hospital.
She first noticed something was wrong when she kept seeing a white spot out of one of her eyes.
The early diagnosis was that it was optic neuritis, but could be MS.
After visiting with an eye specialist, she was subsequently sent to a urology doctor to run tests and an MRI. That was 15 years ago.
Because she wanted a second opinion, Tammy then visited the Cleveland Clinic where the MS was confirmed.
“I underwent a stem cell transplant in 2010,” she explained. “I had a fever post-transplant.”
One thing she is thankful for is that she did get to walk her son Kody down the football field his senior year.
“My daughter Taylor brought me out on my scooter and handed me a cane,” she recalled.
Even though, there are medications for this disease, Tammy decided she would take no more medicine because of the side effects.
“Now I have a better quality of life instead of quantity,” she said. “I am not as steady as I was before the transplant.”
Instead, because she describes herself as ‘very vocal,” she takes herbs vitamins, minerals and hot chips.
“I try to do 60 squats every day,” she said. “I’ve always been into health and working out. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. My mind is always working.”
Tammy, who will mark her 59th birthday on Nov. 15, said the work on her home will include her bathroom. She has already moved her bedroom downstairs because she can no longer climb stairs.
When asked by one of the Divas what she wanted most of all, and Tammy wittingly said, “a chef.”
She said Julie Brumbaugh and Carolyn Hess are her caregivers.
The Chrome Divas have already held three poker runs.
“I put information out there to see who is in need,” said Widener. “Krista Townsend sent me a message letting me know that Tammy was the sweetest, deserving woman.”
The Divas met with Tammy, visiting her home on a stormy evening and the power went out.
“My husband got the lanterns out and started up a generator,” Tammy remembers that meeting.
“There was no way we could not do this for her,” said Diva Stacy Harding. “Everybody’s faces were so bright.”
“The first five minutes we were here, we felt like part of this family,” said Diva McDonald.
“We discussed it as a group and thought this was a need and we could really help them,” Widener said.
The Chrome Divas, during the year of the COVID, also held an outside barn sale to help another woman with MS from Darke County.
Tammy and Kurt showed up the morning of her poker run in their dune buggy. Also there were their son who is serving in the Army in Tennessee and daughter who is attending the University of Findlay.
Tammy said she and Kurt are trying to figure out what to do in the bathroom.
By doing activities like this the Chrome Divas are learning a lot about MS.
“The money is Tammy’s to spend,” said founder Connie Smith “We hope it will help her with the addition.”
“I can’t believe the generosity of everybody,” Tammy said. “It is very humbling.”
The Chrome Divas in a social media message, had some appreciative comments to share: “To every rider and passenger, we thank you for taking time out of your day to be a part of this, to selflessly give your time and hard earned money to make a positive difference in someone else’s life! A personal thank-you to Krista Townsend for nominating our MS Warrior Tammy Swimer Smith. Without your nomination, we would have never met such a positive, spunky, amazing woman.”
In another message, Tammy had her own words of appreciation that included: “Thanks to Dawn Ayers for reaching out to the Chrome Divas on my behalf, and to everyone that came together to make this event possible. Lastly, thank you to my husband, Kurt, for always getting me everywhere I need to be, day in and day out and all you do to help me”
Excerpts from another very recent message by Tammy went like this: “As you all know from my post in June and unbeknownst to me that Krista Townsend nominated me to this wonderful group, The Chrome Divas of Greenville Ohio, and they chose me as their MS warrior of the year and hosted The Slay The MonSter Poker Run to raise money for The MS Society and myself. Y’all…this was huge! The turnout, the donations, the generosity, the warmth, the caring and just hearts of gold that all involved displayed, left me so thankful and humble. Last night, I was blessed to be in their presence, again, in which they presented me with another gift! I’m speechless, to say the least! Thank you, so very much, Chrome Divas, Road Hogg’s and everyone else involved, not just for choosing me, but for such generosity and accepting me into your family circle. I’m truly touched. The hard work y’all put forth to help people is an absolute work of God and a true example of ‘Love Thy Neighbor’.”