Glenwood woman finds passion in being cancer nurse |

Glenwood woman finds passion in being cancer nurse

Sallee Ann Ruibal
Michelle and Matt Spidell outside their Jimmy John's franchise that they've owned for five years.
Andrew Tucker |

5 years of jimmy john’s

What: To celebrate five years of Jimmy John’s in Glenwood, the Spidells will be including a free cookie, bag of chips or drink with every sandwich order. There will also be a job fair.

When: Tuesday, Nov. 14. Job fair will take place 10-11 a.m. and 1:30-3 p.m.

Where: 1331 Grand Ave.

When Matt and Michelle Spidell opened their Glenwood Springs Jimmy John’s franchise in November 2012, the opening rush took a toll on their time together as a married couple.

“There were times when we literally passed each other at 4 a.m., with me leaving work as he was going into work,” Michelle said.

As Matt was selling his landscape architecture business, Michelle had taken on the general manager training and duties. They said they bought the franchise in order to be more involved with the community and around people. But they didn’t realize how much help they needed and how little they would be around each other.

The next March, Michelle had a routine physical. She mentioned to her physician that she had felt a small lump in her breast.

“I didn’t think it would be anything, but then when I found out it was breast cancer, I honestly felt that it saved our life,” she said. “It made us reconfigure our life at that point.”

Michelle stepped down from Jimmy John’s to undergo treatment at Valley View’s Calaway-Young Cancer Center. She was taken by the staff’s attentiveness and care.

“From the first physician I met with to everyone along the way, everyone treats you like a family member. They really want to help you, they do everything they can,” she said. “Maybe not all health-care providers are like that, but that’s how it was for me.”

While receiving treatment, she realized she wanted to be more than a patient. She finally found her passion.

“Up until that point, at all my jobs I had never felt, ‘Oh my gosh, this is what I want to do, I need to do this.’ Nothing I was super passionate about,” she said. “But when I was around these people I was like, ‘This is amazing, this is what I want to do. The way these people made me feel is how I want to make others feel.’”

Michelle applied to Colorado Mountain College’s nursing program while still undergoing treatment. She got in on the first try.

“I would receive transfusions with my books around me, studying for the prerequisites,” she said.

This past May, Michelle graduated from CMC and she is back at Calaway-Young — this time as a nurse.

Michelle’s cancer also gave Matt a new perspective on doing business at Jimmy John’s.

“It made us more giving to the community because all of a sudden business wasn’t the No. 1 priority,” Matt said. “I just started giving more and noticing that it would come back double.”

In 2017 alone, the franchise reported giving away nearly $30,000 in food through various initiatives such as handing out sandwiches to drivers stuck in Grand Avenue bridge detour traffic, catering events at the high school and donating leftover bread to local organizations and shelters.

“No matter how much we give, I know it will never hurt our business,” Matt said.

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