Everyone has been affected by cancer in some way – we’ve fought and survived cancer, we’ve lost love ones to the disease and/or we’ve been touched by powerful stories about cancer.

According to estimates from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC ), there were 12.7 million new cancer cases in 2008 worldwide which breaks down into 5.6 million cases in economically developed countries and 7.1 million in economically developing countries. And these figures don’t include the number of existing cases in any one year.*

Like many countries around the globe, Cisco recognises that its employees have been touched and affected by cancer and this can have a huge effect on every area of our life – our health, our well-being, our family live, our professional life. In 2008, a Senior Director who was battling the disease set up the Cisco Cancer Support Network (CSN) with the vision that “all of the Cisco family touched by Cancer have a safe and inclusive place to share their experiences, learn from each other and have access to relevant, meaningful information regardless of geographic location.” Today, the network is led by hundreds of volunteers who host multiple events throughout the year where employees and their loved ones can come and listen, learn and share.

 Inclusion and Diversity is central to the infrastructure and to the success of the CSN. For starters, the support network is inclusive of anyone who has been touched by cancer – employees who are personally battling the disease, employees who have family and friends battling the disease or indeed anyone and so forth. And as everyone’s experience is going to be different, the CSN is inclusive of multiple perspectives, which are both valued and supported, and at the same time confidentiality is a priority.

Inclusion and Diversity is about connecting the hearts and minds of employees, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and so forth, and CSN has the same vision. I think it’s a wonderful idea to encourage employees from around the world, who work in different parts of the business, but who have all been affected by cancer in some way to connect, share and support one another.

 * http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/content/@epidemiologysurveilance/documents/document/acspc-027766.pdf





Laura Earle

No Longer at Cisco