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A day of blessings

Carole Apold has had more hurdles than open roads over the past four years, but now she has a chance to get back on the highway in her new car, thanks to Pay it Forward.

Apold, who has been diagnosed with cancer three times in the past four years, thought she was going to be coming in to get her van fixed when she walked into Austin Ford Lincoln on Tuesday morning. Instead, she walked away with a new car, a year of insurance, a few free oil changes and $500 for any future repairs.

When Apold walked in with Gina Grundmeier, executive director at Pay It Forward, she went through a moment of shock and silence as she gazed at her new ride.

“Gina told me that I would be getting my van fixed and I thought ‘I don’t know if they can fix it or not, but it was wonderful that they even thought about doing that,’” Carole said. “Today was a little overwhelming. It takes away a lot of stress. I was always scared to take my van out on the highway and this is going to take care of a lot of stress.”

Apold battled muscular bladder cancer in 2016, breast cancer in 2018 and tongue cancer in 2020. Her daughter, Shannon Apold, said it was great to see something good finally come Carole’s way.

“She’s my beautiful mother, she’s got a heart of gold and she’s very well known for her life. It’s good to see her smile and laugh today. It’s been awhile. She’s been through a lot and this means a lot,” Shannon said. “It’s very well deserved. With Gina, I have no words. How do you thank someone for doing what she has done?”

Carole was speechless for a moment when she saw her new car and she spent a good amount of time soaking in the moment as her friends and relatives welcomed her with open arms for the surprise.

“I can’t explain it,” Carole said. “I’ve always been rich in family and friends, but to see this and how everybody has come forward to help, it’s just a blessing. I feel blessed. I just want to thank the community and everybody for what they’ve done for us. It’s amazing.”