My son had a health emergency. Avanade’s flexibility meant I didn’t have to choose between work and family.
- Posted on September 14, 2022
- Estimated reading time 2 minutes
On April 14, 2020 – one month into an already tumultuous time in the world – my 24-year-old son, Niko suffered a stroke. And in an instant, my life changed dramatically. A million thoughts ran through my mind all at once: Will he be okay? How could this have happened? But one thought that never crossed my mind: concern for my responsibilities at work. I knew Avanade would support me.
Thankfully, Niko made it through; but his road to recovery was to be a long one. He began with inpatient treatment at Shirley Ryan Ability Lab, and I moved in with him for those six weeks. To accommodate my work responsibilities, I became a part of Avanade’s Alternative Work Week (AWW) pilot, where we have the option to choose the work hours and days that work best for us. Because of this program, I was able to adjust my work schedule and worked when he was in therapy or asleep.
After three months in the hospital, our son came home from his rehab. I again had to adjust my work schedule to accommodate his needs and various medical related appointments. Life was chaotic physically, mentally, and emotionally. Our college athlete now needed a lot of care, including basic needs: bathing, getting dressed, and eating. And through it all, the only questions from my bosses and colleagues at Avanade was “Are you OK?” I knew my colleagues, and Avanade, always had my back.
So what does our ability to work flexibly at Avanade mean to me? EVERYTHING. It means I was able to care for my son when he needed me most. It means that I do not have to choose between caring for my son or doing my job. It means I have the confidence that I can make appointments as directed by the medical team without compromising my role. And most importantly, it means I feel empowered to spend time with my son. This is important to the healing process.
When Niko left Shirley Ryan, we were told that he may be in a wheelchair the rest of his life. Within days of being home, my son was walking with assistance. It has been two years since he left rehab, and he is walking with a brace or a cane. He is gaining confidence and is now a substitute teacher. His success is the result of his hard work and our support. This support would not have been possible were it not for AWW. I continue to spend the time needed to support my son’s recovery. Everyone has a different reason for enrolling in AWW. My reason is Niko. I am his forever parent.