Does a co-worker in your office have cancer?
Kris Hart, a 43-year-old vice president of global brand at Harrah’s Entertainment and a breast cancer survivor, decided early on to go public with her diagnosis and sent an e-mail to her entire office. People came out of the woodwork, sending her e-mails and letters.
She made the decision to work during chemotherapy, taking time off only after surgery. By the time she arrived at the office completely bald, her co-workers already knew she had cancer.
What’s the best way to help an ailing co-worker? Here’s what Hart says:
• Be specific about how you can help. Very few cancer patients will ever take you up on an offer made in passing, such as “Let me know if I can help” or “I’m here for you.”
“So say, ‘I’d like to bring dinner for you on Wednesday,’” she says.
• Offer support to the whole family. “Recognize it’s not only the physical victim but the whole family that needs support. Someone called my husband to go have drinks. He was thrilled to get away, too,” she says.
• Ask, “What would help you balance taking care of your health and getting your work done? Is there a task I can take off your plate?”
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