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CareersStoriesEnhanced volunteering benefits: One cancer survivor’s journey from coming back to giving back
Annie Yam

Enhanced volunteering benefits: One cancer survivor’s journey from coming back to giving back

Annie Yam, a cancer survivor and marketing leader, transformed her comeback story into a giving-back journey that continues today thanks to our new volunteer leave benefit at Johnson & Johnson.

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A life-changing diagnosis

Put yourself in Annie’s shoes: You’re a healthy young nonsmoker with a diagnosis of lung cancer—a disease for which the average age of patients at time of diagnosis is 70, and smoking is the leading cause. It’s also the number-one cancer killer globally, reflected in its five-year survival rate of 19%, compared to nearly 70% for all cancers combined.

How would you respond?

Annie focused on the silver lining: Thanks to early detection, her cancer remained in Stage 1, meaning that, through surgery, Annie could be cancer-free again.

There’s no question that this diagnosis changed my life in fundamental ways.
Annie Yam
Marketing Lead, Vision Care, Southeast Asia

Coming back, giving back—and taking back her story

Annie beat the odds. “Today, I’m fully treated and fully recovered,” she says. But the experience brought significant changes to her life as well.

For example, while still on the mend, Annie began questioning her priorities. What did it mean to come “full circle” as a cancer survivor? Was merely getting back on track a sufficient goal? How could she help others facing similar challenges?

“There’s no question that this diagnosis changed my life in fundamental ways,” Annie says. “Looking back on that time, I think it was slowly dawning on me that I had to embrace those changes and their impact on my development. I felt like I now had this responsibility to give back.”

She began to think of her journey as being not only about recovery, but self-discovery as well.

“I’m learning what I’m capable of by doing cancer-related volunteer work, and continuing to find out all the ways I can give back with my different gifts and abilities,” she says.

One of the great things about volunteering is that I get to meet and interact with people from all walks of life. In that sense, it isn’t just me giving back through my volunteer work. I feel like I’m continually taking back all kinds of valuable lessons from the experience as well.
Annie Yam

Going beyond with global paid leave enhancements

Annie was thrilled by Johnson & Johnson’s recent Global Paid Leave enhancements, which allow people like her to take paid time off to give back to causes and communities they care about.

In addition to other regional leaves, these enhanced benefits include:

  • Caregivers: 10 business days of paid time off annually to care for an immediate family member with a critical illness or injury
  • Bereavement: Up to 30 business days of paid time off annually following the death of an immediate family member
  • Volunteer work: Four business days per calendar year to give your time to a qualifying event or organization

So what’s next for Annie? How is she putting the new sense of responsibility and obligation she feels as a cancer survivor into action? And what else does she plan to do to maximize the opportunities that come with enhanced benefits at Johnson & Johnson?

Annie’s answer is simple: “My plan is to dedicate more of myself—my time, energy, and focus—to volunteer work. Beyond my responsibilities at Johnson & Johnson, I believe this is some of the most important work I can be doing.”

My volunteer work happens outside of ‘work’ in the literal sense, but everyone on my team at Johnson & Johnson knows what I’m doing. They’re curious about it because they support me—and they want to get involved.
Annie Yam

Be your whole self—help change the future of health

Wherever you are in your career or in the world, we’ll make sure you have the flexibility to pursue your passions or take time away from work when you need it the most. So if you’re ready to help change the future of health for good at a company that nurtures the whole you, check out all the job opportunities available at Johnson & Johnson today.

Also consider signing up for our global talent community. It’s a great way to stay in touch, learn more about life at our company and get updates about jobs that might interest you.

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