Dana Argumaniz feels the love and support from her co-workers each time she walks through the doors at Red Oak City Hall.
In March, Argumaniz, who serves as city secretary, was diagnosed with Classic Hodgkins Lymphoma. She is currently undergoing treatment.
Argumaniz felt that something was wrong with her health in January when she noticed swelling around her neck. She was told at first that it was possibly a sinus infection.
“My doctor was out of town, so I saw a nurse practitioner right here in Red Oak. They told me that if it got bigger or does not get any better to come back in a week,” Argumaniz said. “Well, it didn’t get better, so I went back. It had gotten bigger, and they sent me for testing.”
Argumaniz stated testing continued through March and the swelling on her neck began to resemble a small tire. At the time, it was difficult for her to breath and nearly impossible to turn her neck.
“It felt like I had a severe case of the flu,” Argumaniz recalled. “ I just felt so sick, but they could not give me anything for it because they didn’t know what I had.”
Tests revealed the lymph nodes had started to duplicate themselves, but the cells were defective — and half of the cells were cancerous. Doctors at Baylor Scott and White Medical Center — Waxahachie diagnosed her with Classic Hodgkins Lymphoma on March 19.
According to the American Cancer Society, Classic Hodgkins Lymphoma accounts for more than nine in 10 cases in developed countries.
The cancer cells in Classic Hodgkins Lymphoma are called Reed-Sternberg cells. Enlarged lymph nodes in people with this disease usually have a small number of Reed-Sternberg cells with a lot of healthy immune cells around them. These other immune cells cause most of the swelling in the lymph nodes.
Argumaniz stated the chemotherapy relieved a lot of the symptoms right away. A Positron Emission Tomography scan showed the chemo was working by a stronger dosage was required. Argumaniz will have another PET scan before her July 11 treatment to see how the chemo has impacted her cancer.
In the interim, City staff members have shown their support for Argumaiz as she undergone treatment.
Caryn Stevens, the executive assistant to the city manager, values her friendship with Argumainz and admires her for the strength she has shown during this time. To show support, Stevens as well countless city employees wear a violet bracelet
"All of the colors represent different cancers and this particular one is violet and is for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma,” Stevens said. “I decided that we needed to wear these bracelets every day so when she saw us that it would be a reminder too of the mantra that no one fights alone.”
Stevens stated staff members are providing her meals on the days she has chemo to help lighten the burden she is carrying.
Todd Fuller, Red Oak city manager, shared Stevens thoughts about Argumainz and why it is essential to show the support.
“Dana is the kind of person that is always there when you need help. She is there whether it is a task that involves her or whether she is trying to help someone with another task,” Fuller said. “What we have to do is to do the same for her because she is going through a hard time. So we have to make sure that she knows we are here to help.”
Police officers and fighters have joined together to help Argumaniz with medical bills.
Red Oak Police Chief Garland Wolf stated Argumaniz is there for the community every day and, as an organization, they wanted to give back to make a positive impact in her life.
“She is someone that truly cares about the city, and really cares about the employees that work here,” Wolf said. “She has been coming to work after all her treatments. She has just got a great spirit and is not letting this get her down."
Wolf stated during a recent meeting an idea came to light that he should shave his head as a fundraiser to help Argumaniz with medical bills and to show support. After some discussion, Wolf has agreed to offer up his hair for the cause. Through this challenge, the person that makes the largest donation will have the opportunity to shave the police chief's head.
Argumaniz stated Wolf’s offer to help came at a time when she needed it the most.
“By the time they diagnosed me and I started chemo you start off strong and ‘I am going to do this.’ As chemo beats you down it is hard,” Argumaniz said. “When he came to me and told me what they were doing it was exactly what I needed at that time to pull me through.”
Police and firefighters are also competing against each to see who can raise the most before the July 8 deadline. The losing administrator will have to wash the other’s vehicle while wearing the uniform.
The announcement of the lucky barber will be live streamed through the department’s Facebook page.
Red Oak Assistant Fire Chief Ben Blanton stated Argumaniz is a person that has the heart for the community and for the people that she serves daily.
“We wanted to see what we could do as police and fire departments to raise some money for her to try and help with some medical bills.
"Dana is the person that really keeps the city going in her role as city secretary. All of the city business goes through Dana,” Blanton said. “Though all this she has not missed a lot of work. She still comes in every day with a positive attitude, a smile on her face, and is ready to serve the public. That goes to speak a lot about her character.”
Argumaniz stated she does not know how she can express her thanks to everyone who helped her through this time. She is grateful for the support that has kept her strong. Her hope is that one-day she can be there for someone to provide that support.
“I hope that I can give back to other people and to anyone else that goes through cancer,” Argumaniz said. “There is so much, and I didn’t realize until I was diagnosed. I want to be there for others that are going through it.“
Donations can be made through the Red Oak Police Association’s Venmo account, @RedOakPoliceAssoc, or through the Red Oak Fire Associations’ Venmo account, @RedOak-Firefighters.
Donations also can be made through the American Cancer site www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/dana-nobody-fights-alone.