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SALT LAKE CITY -- All of us give gifts this time of year, but so often, these gifts fall into the category of food, clothing or something to use.
For one group of colleagues, they chose instead to give their friend, who is battling cancer, their paid vacation time.
This donation answers beautifully the question, What can I give that really makes a difference? For the woman who received their generosity comes a new perspective on gratitude.
Alison Landeen is working full time again. But last July, after a diagnosis of breast cancer, her life changed. She went from being the hard-working in-patient billing manager for Mountain Land Rehabilitation to feeling so sick after chemotherapy that she had to take the next four or five days off to recover after each treatment.
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"I couldn't work," Alison said. "After the four treatments, the time starts to add up."
No employee has that much time off to be used. That's when the company's CEO and her coworkers stepped in.
"It just takes a few hours from lots of people, and you have from several weeks to a couple of months of time off," said Robert Farrell, CEO of Mountain Land Rehabilitation.
Not long after the request to help went out, Alison - who was at home at the time -began getting text messages from friends at work about how many hours had been donated.
And donate they did - hundreds of hours
"When that amount of hours comes up, you know that people have sacrificed maybe a vacation or a day or two that could have been used elsewhere," Alison said. "It's really humbling that somebody would do that for you."
Now, Alison only needs to take Fridays off. Her prognosis is good, her hair is growing back, and she knows her colleagues are the best kind of friends. "I'm grateful for life, because when you get this diagnosis, you don't always know what's going to happen," she said. "Grateful that people care so much about you that they want to know how you're doing, your day-to-day life, especially as you're going through something like breast cancer."
And these vacation hours may go on to help someone else. If Alison doesn't need all of them, she will simply pass them along to a colleague who does.