Picture it: You’re a single mother and you have cancer. Somehow you have to figure out how to run your life, work, take care of your children and fight the biggest health battle of your life. Many women are alone during this process and struggle to keep the ship afloat. A grateful cancer patient and local radio personality Asia Ludlow realized that this is a financial and logistical struggle for many women, so she created A Woman Like You Foundation. Unfortunately, Asia passed away in 2014, but her foundation lives on through her sisters and mother. Her oldest sister took over the organization after Asia’s passing, and she is the perfect person to take the helm at this generous organization. She’s a mother of five, a minister to many and faith-centered woman who has always lived to serve others, whether that be her own family, her church or women in the community. When we met her for the first time, it felt like we had been friends for years. Meet Denita Arnold, our FACE of Louisville today.
Tell us about A Woman Like You Foundation that your sister, Asia Ludlow, began and that you now run.
In 2014, my sister Asia Ludlow was in her last few months of life as she battled cancer. She was a single woman with three daughters trying to make ends meet. With the demands of treatments, doctor appointments and the illness itself, it was turning out to be difficult daily. She was very fortunate to have family to come alongside her to help. Asia realized that many women in her same situation were not as fortunate to have the same resources. She started A Woman Like You Foundation to come alongside single women in their battle with cancer. She passed away shortly after our first event.
How does it feel carrying on Asia’s charity without her? Do you feel challenged doing it alone?
Today, our sister Venus Ludlow, along with my mom, Marcia Ludlow, and Asia’s daughters — Italia, China and Zion — do our best to keep her legacy alive through the A Woman Like You Foundation. It is hard, because we miss her. She was loved throughout the community as a former local radio personality. Until her last breath, all she ever wanted to do was help anyone in need. Our goal is to continue to love others the way she would, and attach her name and the foundation to loving and serving others — especially to the single women with cancer who are in the fight of their lives.
You minister to women all over Louisville. How did you know you had this calling, and what provoked you to act on it?
As long as I can remember, I have been a leader — in my youth, in the classroom or on a team. I don’t think I realized the impact and influence I have had until recently. I think that’s because I have now been around for half a century! My heart is for women and the things that we experience in life. I find great joy in ministering to the needs of others. I have often had to take care of many people close to me in their last days … so “others” is my heartbeat. I do know that being others-focused has blessed my life tremendously. For me it is a call to obedience to my faith in Jesus. Much prayer and thought goes into the opportunities and people that come my way. I only want to be used where I can best serve others.
As a mother of five, you say the most important thing is to be available. What advice can you give to mothers in the trenches about this?
The encouragement that I give to mothers is to know that they are not alone. God is watching, and he sees the hard work, time and sacrifice that they are putting into their children, families and careers. My advice is to pray and to have a like-minded loving community to raise them in. (It takes a “good” village.) Be available to them at every stage and age of life. There is not a time that your children will not need you in their lives. Most of all love them where they are and for who God has made them to be — not who you want them to be.
What is on the horizon for you professionally and personally?
Personally, I am a devoted wife to Mike Arnold and mom to our crew of five, with ages ranging from 32 down to 14, as well as one little granddaughter who is now 2. They still need me, and they come first! We are a close family and, personally, I don’t need much more than that. The rest is just icing on an already amazing cake! But while they are all tending to their lives, that leaves me time for a few other things.
Professionally, I will continue to serve as President of A Woman Like You Foundation. We have much work to do to continue to grow it as a foundation and a ministry. For the past four years, I have served on the Women’s Leadership Team at my local church. Along with the staff, our team helps to oversee hundreds of women in ministry and in the community that attend. We call it REAL Women “Thrive,” and it is so fun! It’s a place where women can come and be real and learn a little something too. In addition to that, I am currently in the works of launching Denita Arnold Ministries, which will help me to be a better resource to the community and beyond in speaking, mentoring and teaching. Recently, I was nominated and voted onto the Board for BsideU for Life, a pregnancy and resource center for women. I am looking forward to serving in this capacity as another way to encourage and influence the lives of women in our community.
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
Since it was soooooo long ago, most people would be surprised to know that I was a University of Louisville Ladybird (All-American) way back when!
What advice do you treasure?
I cling to Proverbs 3:5-6 as the best advice for me. It reminds me to “Trust in the Lord with all my heart and to not lean on my own understanding, in all my way to acknowledge Him and He will make my path straight.” It has gotten me far in life, and I treasure it. Along with that, have a strong, honest accountability partner.
What’s on your personal reading list right now?
Besides faith, family and friends, what are three of your favorite things right now?
I really enjoy traveling the world, entertaining and hiking.
A big thank you to Denita Arnold for taking time to chat with us about this great foundation. To learn more about Denita’s work with A Woman Like You Foundation or to volunteer or donate, visit awomanlikeyou.org.
Thank you to Adele Reding of Adele Reding Photography for introducing us to her wonderful friend Denita and for the beautiful pictures.
To be inspired by other great women in Louisville, check out our other FACES of Louisville here.