Working with Cancer: A Personal Story, Cancerandcareers.org
There are a lot of job boards out there but most of them suck. No it’s true. There are thousands of career niche sites trying to cash in on the unemployed, and for those out there truly needing support during their job search it can be disappointing. As an owner of a job board, and a blogger of all things career & social, it can also be disappointing.
Then comes along a site that reminds you some job sites are really making a difference.
Cancerandcareers.org is doing just that. It’s a job board and community focused on helping women with cancer keep working. The site offers free career coaching, information on insurance and legal rights, as well as advice on how to get healthy while still staying in the professional game. What a great idea huh? The site is founded by Avon and Genentech, and sponsored by a number of big brands such as Bare Essentials, Chanel, and Self Magazine—all pioneers in cancer research fundraising and non-profit work. I got to say…coming across this site made me smile and it made me think.
Now watch out people, I am about to have one of those quintessential blogger moments where I let you in and tell you something very personal and close to my heart. Okay, deep breath…
The reason this site struck a chord with me is that I lost my mother to cancer a little over 9 years ago now. I could ramble on a million stories not relevant to this post, but I’m going to try and stay on target here. My mom was a business woman. Yup, she was a “coffee-chugging, tell-it-as-it-is, I’ll-drop-you-if-you-don’t-get-it-done” type of business woman. And I loved that about her. She was a leader; a manager to over a hundred employees, 90% of which were men, and you know what? She freaking killed it. I used to love watching her get ready for work. There was no dillydallying. She would drink her coffee and read the paper…all the meanwhile gearing up for another day of a job she loved. I remember fondly the smile she wore at company picnics as she introduced her family to all of those co-workers that adored working with her. She was in her element when work and her family collided—it was like bringing two things she loved together for a single moment. Heavenly.
Then she got cancer. I was 17 when it all happened, and through all the chaos I remember one thing distinctly—she had the hardest time handling cancer and work. So many questions suddenly popped up. Ones that dad and us kids couldn’t help her with, the human resource department couldn’t fix…there were questions that it seemed no one knew the answer to. I watched her struggle everyday to get to work—through radiation, through chemo, through the many doctor visits that cut into her schedule. Then at night I watched her come home with more questions, no energy, and a diminishing spirit.
Even after all of that I remember the worst was when she actually had to admit she couldn’t work anymore. I watched her eyes swell up when she got home from work that last day, and even at my young age, I remember trying to understand what a loss it was to give up what you loved to do—everyday for over 20 years. Damn it.
Needless to say, I wish a community like @cancerandcareer was around back then. I can picture her bookmarking that site, jumping on the computer every night, and possibly finding some comfort in knowing that she wasn’t the only one going through this.
I am so excited to have come across this site, and I will surely be mentioning it a million more times in my life as I cross paths with those that need answers. Cancer touches us all, either directly or indirectly, so won’t you join me in pushing this site around? If introducing a woman who has cancer to the site brings even a few answers to the dark questions that surround cancer…well this might just be the best post I’ve ever written.
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