Cancer. It’s the one word no one wants to hear, and recovering a diagnosis is often life-changing. Once you hear that word, there are many decisions that must be made, including whether to keep the diagnosis private or share it. Many companies, like Disney, are now choosing to lessen the anxiety of that choice.
The #workingwithcancer Pledge is a new initiative that began, of all places, in a boardroom when Publicis Groupe CEO Arthur Sadoun disclosed his cancer diagnosis with the advertising firm he ran. He was nervous but received support and encouragement. The thing, he says, that stood out to him was just how many people said they had never informed their employers of their diagnosis for fear of the stigma surrounding their illness. He decided that employees shouldn’t have to be afraid to disclose their cancer diagnosis if they so choose, so he began the #workingwithcancer Pledge initiative which launched last Tuesday at the 2023 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
The Walt Disney Company was among the first to sign the pledge vowing that no Cast Member should fear losing their job because they are sick. Employers who take the pledge promise “to abolish job fear and insecurity that exist for cancer sufferers in the workplace.” They also vow to do a better job making cancer related health benefits known to employees as well as creating policies to help employees who are caring for a loved one with a cancer diagnosis as well.
Sadoun explained that given advancements in cancer treatment, it is often a chronic illness rather than terminal disease and said, “Not only will we have to live with cancer, we will have to work with it.” Disney and other companies, like Google, L’Oréal, Marriott, McDonald’s, Meta, Microsoft, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Toyota, Unilever and Walmart will work together to make working with cancer as stress-free as possible.