A Story of Strength, Courage, and Having a "Free Second Opinion"
WarnerMedia VP Ali Calamar shares how battles with cancer disabled her leg, but not her life.
Edited By Isoul Hussein Harris
In November 2010, I was hired as the Director of Print Production, Home Entertainment. In 2019, I became the Vice President, Creative Production Management. However, two years before my promotion, I left WarnerMedia uncertain of my return.
In August 2017, I was diagnosed with Spindle Cell Sarcoma—a rare malignant cancerous tumor that can develop in the bone or soft tissue. I learned of my condition while at work. I walked directly into my VP's office and shared that I had cancer in my left femur. Furthermore, I announced that I was taking an indefinite leave of absence—and I wasn't sure when I was going to return. The next day, I left WarnerMedia to deal with my health issues. I was away for nine months. How was I able to act so decisively?
The "Free Second Opinion" that WarnerMedia includes in its employee benefits program was an invaluable help. I received confirmation that my treatment plan was correct, and the relief I experienced from that news was beneficial. After the completion of my treatment, I soon was healthy again. I returned to work and was welcomed back with open arms.
Six months later, my cancer returned.
I had surgery but continued to work while doing chemo. My department head at WarnerMedia made many allowances for me to work remotely. Then three months later, cancer returned for the third time. My department head continued to be accommodating, allowing me to work remotely as needed while getting treatment.
In August 2019, my femur shattered. I lost my leg—from above the knee and down.
I had to take another leave for six months. During that time, I received even more support from my VP. I remember thinking how beyond excellent was the support that I was receiving from WarnerMedia. Halfway through my leave, I assumed my current VP position. I returned to the office, and I was welcomed with arms open wider than before.
There have been many, many challenges along the way, and everyone at WarnerMedia has been supportive. Although some were unaware of the difficulties of being in a wheelchair, they still worked with me to overcome them.