by Jeanine Johnson
Very often I talk about the exemplary work Easterseals teachers, teacher’s assistants and therapists perform on a daily basis. The way they care and connect with each and every student is truly something special. The children and their families are supported by Easterseals on so many levels that go beyond the academic. You know I could go on and on about the importance of what we do and how we serve our families, but today I want to talk about how we support each other!
Earlier this year I was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. It was one of those calls you never want to receive. I quietly underwent the slew of testing that needed to be done before the surgery was finalized. I didn’t tell anyone what was going on at the time because I wasn’t ready for questions. I was very fortunate because I feel I had best case scenario, caught it early, minor surgery, radiation and medication. Ultimately I knew I’d be fine, but it was still a lot to process. I decided to take some time off after the procedure just to get my head and emotions together. No one was aware of what transpired until after I went out on leave.
Well the outpouring of support I received from my co-workers was overwhelming. The cards were beautiful but the sentiments were something special. There were personal notes from the teaching staff, transportation staff, nursing staff, therapy staff and corporate staff. The cards and poster boards were decorated by the students. The personal notes (and there were many) that each person wrote brought joy to me. Sometime you don’t realize how much we get used to each other’s routines, likes and dislikes. I received a package in the mail that contained boxes of tea bags and three fresh lemons. It is known that I have to have my hot cup of tea with lemon every morning. This made me laugh and my heart light. The box also contained a gift for both my dog and my cats. A Grub Hub gift card was sent to me. It was another thoughtful gesture. What a novel idea and one I plan to duplicate! That’s a great gift for someone who’s recovering.
When I returned to work there was such a warm welcoming from everyone. People were checking in with me periodically to see how I was making out with the radiation treatments. After I completed my 4+ weeks of radiation, I got to ring the bell. I came into work the next morning to an announcement written on the bulletin board congratulating me for finishing my cancer treatments. I felt very cared for and loved. So when I sing the praises of the people I work with, it’s because they are inherently good people, with great hearts. I’m sure that’s what drove them to work in this industry where their love and talent could have the most impact.