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Caetlyn Roberts

Caetlyn Roberts

Human Resources Business Partner

Giant Food

On February 5, 2016, my life was forever changed.

After spending most of January in and out of hospitals, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 liver cancer. The next four months were a whirlwind.

Three major corrective surgeries, the first rounds of radiation therapy, an extended stay at the National Institutes of Health and a never-ending battle to remain pragmatic and level-headed.       

After being released to the comfort of my family's home, I began the road to recovery, mentally and physically. While my body healed surprisingly well, my mind kept running away with itself. When will I feel strong enough to go back to work? Do I want to go back to work? Will Giant have a home for me as a customer service manager in my district? Another district? I was near tears thinking I'd never be able to return to my job.

But I took the time to really evaluate my new situation. I asked myself, “Do I really want to go back to Giant? And if I do, why?” Without hesitation, the answer came to me: The men and women I work with, from store managers and department managers, to the clerks, cashiers and everyone in between. They were my motivation to return.

Although I had only been a customer service manager for two years, I loved every single minute of leading the new hire orientations, becoming acclimated to my new team, continuing to develop my working knowledge of the store and identifying and developing talent.

That's not to say I haven't had my fair share of stressful days. There were times I had to muster the physical, mental and emotional strength to return to work after a full day of scans, lab work and analyzing results. There were emergency trips to NIH because I pushed my body beyond its physical limits. Couple this with my pride in being a manager who makes an effort to give all of her associates a “Good morning” or “Good afternoon” when sometimes a smile and “Hello” was a daunting undertaking.

The associates no longer looked out for me because I was their coworker, but because I was another human being, plain and simple. I received phone calls to “check in,” funny text messages and cards wishing me well. Their actions helped me keep it all together.

It’s been the associates and what I've helped them attain that continue to enrich me as a person and give me a sense of fulfillment every day I walk into work. There truly is no better feeling than that.

Now, I’m working six days a week and advancing my career, but am careful not to push myself too hard. My treatment schedule is flexible; I receive monthly injections and am well enough to only need full scans three times a year! I was recently promoted and I’m looking forward to this new role that will further my skill set and empower me to make a bigger impact.