Working through treatment

In this 11-minute TED Talk, lawyer Sarah Donnelly talks about her experiences working through treatment for breast cancer.  You can find a range of resources on work and study here.

“Back at work I handed over the urgent things (…) but at that moment work wasn’t my priority. I was thinking how I was going to tell my friends and family I had cancer. I was wondering if my partner and I would ever have an opportunity to start a family (…) Work was about to play a huge role in my treatment and recovery. My job that would give me routine and stability when I was dealing with so many difficult personal decisions, and so much uncertainty.”


Sarah found meaning in her work, and the structure helped her to feel in control while many other areas of her life were uncertain. Her workplace made reasonable adjustments that enabled her to continue full-time employment through treatment. However, she learned that there is a real discrepancy in how different organisations approach this, despite Australian law. This sparked her mission to better understand how organisations can support their employees to work through treatment for serious illnesses. If you’re a young person with cancer in the workforce, it might be worth researching what your rights are.

Cancer Advisor has a range of resources on how to advocate for your rights, but we’re always looking for more content. Leave a comment below, share your own story or recommend a resource.

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  • Centrelink: Key links

    Centrelink provides a range of support for people living with a disability or illness. Find out more about: Youth Disability Supplement: Information from the Department of Human Services. Payments for people living with an illness, injury or disability: Information from the Department of Human Services. Centrelink assistance: Overview created by Breast Cancer Network Australia. Financial assistance available to patients with cancer – Centrelink: Information sheet created by Work After Cancer. WeCare financial assistance and podcasts: Created by Kildonan.  Cancer Advisor has a range of resources on cancer treatment, but we are always looking for more content. Register now to contribute […]


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