We are thrilled to share today’s "Survivor Voices" feature with creative director, designer, educator, and cancer survivor, Eason Yang.
Eason is a vocal advocate and champion for the 600,000+ cancer survivors in the United States who are eager to return to the workforce following a cancer diagnosis. We had the pleasure of speaking with Eason to hear his story and about why his work is so important to the cancer community.
“I was a rising design leader in Silicon Valley when a cancer diagnosis shattered my life and derailed my career trajectory. I found that after I was deemed ‘NED’ or ‘no evidence of disease’ by my doctors, reconnecting to my post-cancer career was as formidable of a challenge as going through my cancer treatments. Employers were reluctant to work with or hire someone with the gap that cancer left in my resume.”
“I let nothing stop me from pursuing my career aspirations. I returned to graduate school and built NED–NotEntirelyDead.org, a social enterprise championing the 600,000+ young adult cancer survivors in the U.S. who are ready to work again. Ever since I have had the distinction of being Not Entirely Dead, I have become a fierce advocate for those who endure life’s interruptions — and am on a mission to help them thrive by moving forward again.”
“Like many young adult cancer fighters and survivors, I do have one ultimate goal — regaining a sense of normalcy. For me, that means finding value and purpose again, including contributing to society and returning to work. Cancer has upended everything in my and my family’s lives, but it hasn’t changed why I love the work I do. Having a job (again) is a key to returning to normalcy, because many survivors have become workplace fallouts including myself.”
“Cancer isn’t something that happens once. It permanently changes a person’s life. When someone has beaten cancer, there’s often an expectation that it’s time to live a BIG life — to travel the world, devote a life to saving the planet, or at the very least, finish a marathon. Survivors are reluctant to be victims of the illness, they are encouraged to do what anyone else can do. There’s also a mentality that because survivors have been given a second chance at life, we’ve got to make the most of it. But what many cancer survivors crave more than anything is quite the opposite — a return to normalcy, resuming the life we had before the cancer diagnosis.”
To learn more about Eason’s work at NED, visit NotEntirelyDead.org for more on navigating careers after cancer treatment.