Widower Struggles with Loss of Wife & Age 3 Son Battling Leukemia. Coworkers Clock 3300 Overtime Hours to Help


Andreas Graf, 36, was devastated when his young son, Julius, was diagnosed with Leukemia at the age of 3.

When the boy first began treatment, he had to stay in the hospital for the first nine weeks.

But just as he was about to return home with his family, tragedy struck again.

His mother, Graf’s wife, suddenly died of heart disease.

Knowing he needed to be with his son during such a difficult time, he used all of his annual vacation time to be with Julius.

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All too soon though, that time was over, and Graf was forced to return to work.

Those few weeks off, however, were not enough to help him heal from his wife’s death and his son’s illness. Graf began to worry that he would be fired from his job.

But someone had been looking out for the widower. HR manager Pia Meier knew she needed to help, so she reached out Graf’s colleagues with a request.

Meier asked each of them if they’d be willing to donate overtime hours to Graf so that he could spend more time with his son.

The response to her request was overwhelming. Every single one of the company’s 650 employees signed up, even though many of them didn’t even know him.

After just two weeks, Graf’s coworkers had earned 3,264.5 hours to donate to him.

His company allowed the father to take those hours as paid leave, giving him more than a year off to spend with his son.

Graf was undoubtedly moved to tears by the generosity of those he works with, even those he’d never met.

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And as for Julius, who turned five at the end of February, he was able to go home after chemotherapy and hopes to begin school soon.

Graf said he feels incredibly grateful to both his company and his colleagues for giving him the opportunity to heal alongside his son.

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Liz was a senior story editor for The Western Journal.
Liz was a senior story editor for The Western Journal.
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