A Sponsored Post
“Work was important for me because it kept me from being defined by my cancer. Cancer can steal your life from you, it can steal your identity and over time define who you are. I couldn’t let that happen.” – Gail, High School Art Teacher
I am honored to introduce to you one of my dearest friends, Gail. The day a 7mm mass was discovered in her right breast, I was shaken to my core because it was the closest breast cancer had come to someone I love. But, as I watched her go through a difficult 14 months of treatments, it became abundantly clear how important her work was to her survival. “No matter how sick I was I continued to do what I loved and it was the best thing in the world for me,” she said. “I also am convinced staying active helps you to recover quicker, keeps you in a healthy mindset so that you are not overcome by your weakness. I had my moments when I was overwhelmed, but they were few and far between. My job made me get out of bed every morning and persevere throughout the day…best medicine in the world.” When I first saw Gail after weeks of treatments, I was amazed at how fabulous she looked.
This is why I am supporting, and here to tell you about, Cancer and Careers, a nonprofit organization that empowers and educates people with cancer to thrive in their workplace. They have innovative programs for survivors, healthcare professionals and employers to provide vital support, tools and information (all free of charge) needed to navigate the work-related practical and legal challenges after a diagnosis. CAC also provides critical information and guidance for managers and coworkers to help them understand the challenges that employees with cancer face in the workplace and how they can offer the best support.
In 2018 alone, more than 1.8 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed in the United States. Of those newly diagnosed cases, many will be people who are active members of the workforce (nearly 50% of cancer survivors are working age), so there is a significant need for resources and support to help get them back to everyday life and work after diagnosis and treatments. Gail faced financial pressures, fear, secondary infections and a lack of energy. But, she said, “it was being surrounded by the love of my students, parents, faculty, and administration that revived and sustained me.”
However, many survivors need assistance and encouragement to re-enter the workforce so they can gain benefits such as my friend experienced. Cancer and Careers offers a wide range of programs and services, including reviewing and assisting with resumes. One cancer survivor who used their free Resume Review Service said, “without the help of Cancer and Careers, I would not feel comfortable researching another career at this particular time of my life. They allow you to be a survivor and fight for what you want with a lot of resources available that you never would have access to. I am truly grateful for their support.”
Cancer and Careers also conducts an annual survey with Harris Poll to better understand the current experiences of working people with cancer. In 2017, 65% of respondents agreed that working through treatment helped or helps them cope. I can see the results in Gail’s life and hear it in her voice.
You can direct someone you love with cancer to the Cancer and Careers Website. It just might bring some hope during a difficult time.
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Cancer and Careers but the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.