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Gilead Benefit Helps Employees Navigate Cancer Care

Stories@Gilead - June 13, 2024 - 3 min read

Jim Candler had a successful 40-year career in system operations before coming to Gilead three years ago to bring his tech expertise to the Human Resources team.

“I was hired at 71 years old. What does that say about Gilead?” says Jim, Senior Director, People Technology.

Jim is now 74 years old and still enjoys coming to work every day. He feels especially fortunate to be working at a company that offers employees an assortment of healthcare and retirement benefits. He credits one of those benefits with providing invaluable healthcare information when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer last year.

After seeking a series of medical opinions from a radiation oncologist, a medical oncologist, a urologist and a hormone treatment specialist, Jim was overwhelmed trying to decide which option was best for him. 

That’s when his colleagues at work told him to contact AccessHope, a cancer care support benefit that Gilead began offering to U.S. employees and their loved ones last August. The program provides a network of oncology professionals who are available to share treatment information, while also providing emotional support.

“Much of our discoveries here at Gilead are dedicated to treatments for those facing cancer,” says Angela Sim, Senior Director, Benefits. “That’s why our benefits team felt it was important to make sure our employees and their family members could seek information from oncology experts at the forefront of the latest cancer innovations.”

In Jim’s case, he was connected with an oncology nurse who spent hours walking him through each of his treatment options.

“They won’t tell you what to do, but they help educate you and point you to resource materials,” says Jim. After speaking with the nurse and doing some more follow-up research, he was able to make a treatment decision he was at peace with. 

“A big part of my job is to remove administrative burdens and help employees navigate our healthcare benefits, and now I want to let everyone know about what an incredibly helpful program I had at my disposal when I needed it the most,” he says. “It didn’t just help me, but my wife was also able to gain emotional support from the program during this journey, too.”

Gilead’s cancer care efforts caught the attention of President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot initiative, which aims to improve the experience of people touched by cancer. Representatives from Gilead’s Benefits team were invited to the White House in March to share best practices on ways employers can influence employee cancer screenings.

Jim, meanwhile, is still undergoing treatment but is happy to say his cancer is undetectable. He also credits his annual check-ups for this good health, and he hopes his experience will serve as a reminder to others of the role regular exams and screenings can play in early detection.

He also notes how grateful he is that Gilead helps him and others – from providing employees access to wellbeing services and cancer support to fostering a rewarding work environment. “I’m proof that Gilead cares about its employees.”

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