CANCER SURVIVOR, OWNER-OPERATOR, AWARD WINNING TRUCK DRIVER HELPS PDI WITH BREAST CANCER AWARENESS
Owner-operator Jimmy Ardis of Sumter, S.C., leased with Cargill Meat Solutions, Inc. based in Wichita, Kansas, is no stranger to the road. In March 2012 at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky., the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association presented Ardis with an award acknowledging his 4 million miles of safe driving over the past 35 years.
“That award is the best thing that has ever happened to me,” said Ardis. “I’ve walked among the best of the best now.”
Ardis has wanted to be a truck driver all his life. “This is something that I’ve always wanted to do,” Ardis said. With a chuckle, he noted that his first word was “truck”.
He was driven to trucking as an occupation, because people said he couldn’t do it. “That’s what people say and think when you lose your left arm at the age of 6 due to cancer,” Ardis said.
Ardis’ arm was amputated, and he wasn’t expected to live. Doctors told his parents to prepare themselves for the loss of their young son, because it was unlikely he would survive the surgery, but survive he did.
“One less limb only increased my desire to achieve and prove to others that anyone can do anything they set their mind to,” Ardis said. “Everyone questions their abilities but you can do it! Anything is possible.”
Ardis has had to overcome many obstacles with cancer and the trucking industry, but he continues to support others to follow their dreams. “I can do the job like anyone else even though I’m impaired and so can other disabled people,” Ardis said. “You have to choose everyday what you want to do with your life.”
This drive to survive and succeed has helped Ardis find success as an owner-operator, and he has won other awards over the years; including the November 2009 Owner Operator of the Month at National Carriers and numerous safety awards from the American Trucking Association and National Carriers.
Because of his personal connection to cancer, Ardis looks for ways to give back. He works with Relay for Life, wounded soldiers, and those who have lost limbs. Four years ago Ardis lost his sister, Melody Ardis, to breast cancer, so he also has a special place in his heart for breast cancer research.
Recently, Ardis began assisting with additional promotion for the PDI breast cancer fundraiser truck, because of his passion to give back to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation for his sister. “This truck is a great thing and it’s going for a good cause, and it’s something that the trucking industry will get to see every day,” said Ardis. His promotion has included advertising the truck on his website, discussing it on the radio, and promoting it using his CB to tell all his trucker buddies.
PDI and other diesel industry leaders are rebuilding a 2001 Peterbilt 379 that will be given away as a fundraiser. Once the remodel is complete the truck is anticipated to be worth $80,000 and it will painted pink to support breast cancer awareness. The fundraiser will benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) through the Tough Enough to Wear Pink (TETWP) program.
“Every dime that is donated to this truck goes to support the Breast Cancer Research Foundation,” said Ardis. “If you donate to other organizations, then they may keep a portion of the money, but with the PDI fundraiser every penny is going to support breast cancer research.”
“When I read about this truck in Large Car Magazine and talked to the PDI guys at truck shows, I learned that all the money goes to the BCRF through the TETWP campaign,” Ardis said. “I’m a cowboy and a supporter of breast cancer research so I had to get involved.”
“This truck is a big deal. It will help a trucker and the money goes to a good cause,” Ardis said. Ardis concluded the interview by challenging every trucker to wear their pink shirts and purchase a fundraiser ticket to support the cause. “I want everyone to know that I appreciate being a part of the promotion of the truck for my sister. Real men wear pink!” he said. “Please join me!”
For more information about Jimmy Ardis, visit http://themonkeygouger.com/.