"I will tell you now, we had come to grips with the fact that Tamarra is dying and we would try to make the most of our time. Now, for the first time in years, we have hope...and for that my friends I cannot thank you enough. God truly works in mysterious ways and I feel blessed beyond measure."
For years, Bryan Armstrong has been an incredible Community Editor for DrivingSales and a top-tier contributor to the automotive industry. He has helped many in and outside of the car business to find both joy and success, perpetually doing the right things for others. Whether it's helping someone new to the industry learn the ropes, guiding a vendor to improve their services for dealers, or adopting children into his family to give them a nurturing home, Bryan is the epitome of living life the right way.
That's the Bryan Armstrong that we know and love, but there's another aspect of his life that has been very private for some time. His wife, Tamarra, has Superior Mesenteric Artery Syndrome and inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia. Combined, these can be life-threatening and the best option is something that insurance simply doesn't cover. Bryan needs to get her to the Mayo Clinic in Arizona and they need our help.
"Bryan, although boisterous and opinionated, is also very quiet and very humble," said Jessica Richardson of VW SouthTowne. "His family is everything to him and he isn't one to reach out because Bryan is a doer for others and asking for help seems like a weakness. Good news is he is learning it isn't!"
Richardson started a GoFundMe on behalf of the Armstrongs to help Tamarra get the medical attention she requires. "To have this opportunity to put my foot down and reach out for something he holds inside all the time, it is actually an honor."
This is where you guys step in and step up. We are challenging you, both dealers and vendors, to do two things: donate to the cause and help spread the word. There's even a group that has been orchestrated by Christine Robertson to help generate awareness. It's called #CARSTRONG.
"A few weeks ago a gofundme link flashed across my screen and I almost missed it, but I recognized those beautiful children," said Robertson. "Until that day I had no idea Tamarra was ill, and suffering. I was completely unaware that the beautiful bunch I celebrated with when they became a family of five was in danger of losing their sweet Mommy. I thought, if there is a way to heal her, and by God I believe there is, and the only roadblock is money – WE GOT THIS!"
The #CARSTRONG concept is expanding with the first portion being simple yet useful: T-Shirts! A loose but passionate task force is forming to get as many people contributing to the Armstrong's cause as possible and #CARSTRONG T-Shirts are the perfect foundation. Participation will help the Armstrong family and will promote the idea that in our business, we build strength through unity.
One arena where this will play out on is Carbucks, a Facebook group started by Nancy Simmons. Through the group, they plan on promoting #CARSTRONG to help the Armstrongs meet their medical needs as soon as possible.
"When a brother and sister are in need, Auto Family responds!" said Simmons. "We are a social people. We help each other out because it is the right thing to do."
On a personal note, I've known Bryan for many years. I've recruited him to work with me... twice... and I've always respected his desire to be build others up around him. Now that I know about Tamarra's condition, I will be doing what I can to help. The best way to understand the importance of this is to hear from Bryan himself.
"Tamarra is one of the strongest people I know both mentally and emotionally. She not only cares for me and our four kids, but does so in spite of pain, insecurities and physical infirmity," he said. "She inspires me daily with her strength and makes me want to be a better person."
Show your support. Challenge your dealerships to contribute. Get your vendors involved - so many have already. It's time to put the strength of our industry to work to help one of our own. We are #CarStrong.