Stepping up to help a coworker

July 12, 2019By Acts of Kindness, Behind the Shelf Blog, Tradition of Giving

By Mary Hart, project manager/senior data assets specialist, for the Tradition of Giving blog series

In early 2018, one of our coworkers and member of the HRG owners group, Gail, was stricken with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a cancer that starts in white blood cells called lymphocytes. Gail is one of the toughest, strongest women I know, so I knew she would battle the cancer with everything she had.

During her treatments, cancer did not stop Gail from coming to work because working is part of her DNA. However, it did tire her out, and we wanted to do something to help. It occurred to my coworker Cari and me that we could assist by providing her with meals. You see, in addition to cooking for herself and her partner, she brings meals to her elderly parents who live next door. That was a nearly impossible task for someone who was physically enduring so much, and whose energy stores were declining as her chemotherapy continued.

HRG president Dawn Vogelsang (left) and Gail at Gail’s 30th anniversary celebration in 2018

We realized we couldn’t make the meals alone, so Cari and I organized a meal drive for Gail, taking care to ensure the food was both low sodium and also soft enough for her parents.

A group of about 10 of us made meals over the course of two months. Many of those who didn’t have the knack for cooking donated money, which was supposed to help pay for ingredients. Of course in true HRG fashion, none of the cooks would accept the money, so I saved it up.

When Gail finally announced later that year that she had kicked cancer to the curb (as we knew she would!), we were able to present her with a few gift cards to her favorite restaurants for celebratory meals along with two plants that symbolized life.

We are all thankful to have our friend and coworker back living a healthy, vibrant life. I am thankful to work with such a caring group of individuals. The HRG tradition of giving is certainly alive and well!