Working Mom Back on Career Track after Son’s Tragedy

Bon Secours Hampton Roads working mom Trenita Cherry and her son Michael celebrate his good health after being badly burned and are thankful for her colleagues’ support during the ordeal.

When Trenita Cherry’s 3-year-old son was badly burned on his hands and face, she saw firsthand how her Bon Secours Hampton Roads colleagues had become like family to her.

It was 2007, and her son’s injuries needed skin grafts. He was in the hospital for nearly two months, but then he had to go back in six weeks to begin follow-ups. He was a patient at the Shriners Hospitals for Children in Ohio, requiring Cherry to travel each time he had a check-up or follow-up procedure.

Cherry, office coordinator at Internists at Western Branch, said her office pulled together and even started a fund in which colleagues could donate.

Cherry had to be out of work for about six months and then came back part-time. Co-workers donated their Paid Time Off, so Cherry would have PTO after all of her own PTO was depleted.

“They did a lot,” said Cherry, who is also the mother of an 11- and 14-year-old. “They really, really helped me … Any other employer would have just rolled you out the door, but they didn’t. They welcomed me back with open arms.

“It’s like a family.”

Her son is now 9 and only requires follow-ups when he hits a growth spurt.

Cherry has been back working full time and is also now pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management. She’s using the Bon Secours tuition reimbursement program and is thankful for this support, just as she is still thankful for the support during her son’s treatments.

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