Danielle Thomas is a fighter.
But in the spring of 2007, after a routine visit to her primary care physician, Thomas — an employee in Boeing’s Global Corporate Citizenship office — received the kind of news that would back the most experienced fighter against the ropes.
What she initially assumed was a bout of minor abdominal pain turned out to be something much worse: cervical cancer.
“When my doctor sat me down and walked me through my diagnosis I was devastated,” Thomas said. “I feared that the treatments would be painful and, even worse, ineffective. I was very scared.”
The months and weeks ahead would challenge her more than any other time in her life. After an aggressive eight-week chemotherapy and radiation treatment cycle, she was exhausted.
“I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep and I was rapidly losing weight,” she said. “The side effects of the chemo and radiation treatments were wreaking havoc on my body. I had to take a leave of absence from work and relied on my twin sister, Michelle, also a Boeing employee, to become my full-time caregiver.”
It’s experiences like Thomas’ that have led Boeing to launch a partnership with the American Cancer Society (ACS). The intent is to help the society raise money for research, education programs, advocacy efforts and patient services nationwide.
At Boeing sites across the country, employees will have an opportunity to support the #BoeingAgainstCancer drive through monetary donations, educational events and volunteer activities.
“As Boeing employees, we are fortunate to work for a company that understands the importance of giving back,” said John Blazey, vice president of Global Corporate Citizenship. “With our ACS partnership, Boeing employees can become agents of change for cancer patients and survivors across the United States. While donations to ACS are strictly voluntary, increasing our impact is only possible with the full support and generosity of our employee base.”
As for Thomas, things eventually began to improve; the treatments, while painful, were effective. Now in remission for almost a decade, she credits her recovery to early detection, a positive outlook and the many recent advancements in cancer research and treatment, made possible in part by organizations like the ACS.
Through its active network of advocates and sponsors, the ACS is helping more and more people successfully fight cancer, improving patient outcomes and making it possible for survivors like Thomas to lead happier, healthier and more fulfilling lives.
She also is thankful for the support of her friends, family and Boeing colleagues who helped her through the process. And she has a word of advice for those battling the disease.
“Having a positive outlook is crucial to recovery,” she said. “If you are in a good frame of mind, it helps when dealing with the physical challenges — healthy eating, exercising, getting plenty of rest. It also eases the transition back to living your life as you did before the diagnosis. Your new normal, post-cancer.”
By Jason Capeheart