When their boss was diagnosed with cancer, West Chester staffers took over

WEST CHESTER TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- When West Chester director of community development Aaron Wiegand was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer and catapulted straight into intensive chemotherapy last August, his colleagues' eight-hour workdays grew to around 10 hours.

They didn't mind. In his small office, coworkers are like family. 

"When one person is celebrating something, we're all celebrating,” administrative assistant Beverly Worley said. "If somebody's hurting, we're all hurting.”

Worley, who had also been part of an effort to push her increasingly ill boss toward the doctor's office, took on Wiegand's phone calls while others dealt with budgeting, public interaction and nighttime meetings. 

"That's not a unique story because people deal with those things every day,” Wiegand said. Instead, he added, it was his coworkers' dedication to keeping the office running that was truly special. "In our office, the way my team surrounded themselves with work that needed to be done was really inspiring to me.”

With the help of chemotherapy, surgery and his coworkers' efforts to keep workplace worries off his plate, Wiegand beat cancer and came back to the office this spring. Part of his rush to return, he joked, was his fear that his team had become so efficient in his absence that he was on the verge of being made redundant.

"I love my team,” he said. "I loved them before this; I love them after this. This was just a bump in the road.”

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