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44. Building bravery through compassion

44. Building bravery through compassion

Supporting Employees Undergoing Cancer Treatment

Staffmark’s mission is to craft meaningful partnerships with its customers, employees, and the communities it serves—especially in times of uncertainty and distress. When the Staffmark team in Cincinnati discovered that one of its newest employees had been recently diagnosed with cancer, it did what came naturally and supported her on her road to recovery.

“Ovarian cancer—as soon as the doctor said those two words, my life completely turned upside down,” Letrinette Cline recalled.

When Cline was diagnosed at the end of 2017, the news couldn’t have come at a worse time. She had just started a new job at Wornick Foods in Cincinnati, but now she worried whether she would be able to continue working.

Cline had landed her job through Staffmark, an employment agency with offices in 31 states across the U.S. After receiving the diagnosis, Cline approached her Staffmark on-site supervisor, Suzette Fox, to discuss how she would be able to continue to work.
“At Staffmark, we’re dedicated to providing holistic support for our employees—old and new,” said Fox. “We knew we had to do whatever we could to help Letrinette get through this.”

Staffmark’s mission is simple: to be a great partner to its customers, employees, and the communities they serve. Since being a great partner means different things to different people, Staffmark’s members work hard to understand and effectively support everyone’s unique needs.

Fox and the Staffmark team worked with Wornick Foods to arrange a part-time schedule that would fit around Cline’s treatment and allow her to rest. The team also carefully restricted the types of tasks Cline would be asked to do so that she could avoid any physical labor. The new schedule was a huge relief for Cline—it meant she didn’t have to worry about struggling to support herself during an already incredibly stressful time.

Cline’s perseverance reminded Fox of another close coworker: Jenn Fitzpatrick, Fox’s branch manager, who had been diagnosed with stage two breast cancer just months earlier. While undergoing her treatment, Fitzpatrick had assembled a nonprofit group called BeBrave513 that distributed gift bags full of essential comfort items for people going through cancer treatment.

“Jenn is, by far, the strongest and most inspiring woman I’ve ever met,” said Fox. “She’s been through it, so she understands how scary it can be. The gift bags are her way to inspire others to stay positive and strong while getting treated.”

Fox thought one of BeBrave513’s gift bags would be a special way to show Cline that the Staffmark team was there for her and thinking about her. To show Cline that she was not alone in her fight, Fox arranged for Fitzpatrick to visit Wornick to deliver the gift bag in person and surprise Cline before an upcoming surgery.

“Letrinette was so touched,” Fox recalled, “I think it’s little things like that that can help someone feel less alone in a really scary time.”

Over the course of the next several months as Cline continued to recover, Fitzpatrick, Fox, and the Staffmark team kept in close contact with her to ensure she felt their ongoing support. A short while later, Cline had recovered enough to return to work full-time.

“If it wasn’t for Staffmark’s compassionate help and support through the most difficult period of my life, I don’t know how I would have gotten through it,” said Cline. “I’m happy and healthy again. Having that supportive system made all the difference.”

Story Category

“Extending a helping hand”