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Reaching out during the COVID-19 pandemic

How one employee volunteered throughout the pandemic to help her community and beyond 

Our story

Marie Prévost has always believed giving back to the community is important. Since her beginnings in France as a nurse helping addicts, to working as a street nurse and co-running an HIV/AIDS patient organization in Montreal, Marie has been dedicated to improving the health and well-being of vulnerable individuals.

As a nurse and a one-time activist, she joined Abbott Laboratories as a Liaison Agent with the HIV/AIDS community, knowing that her knowledge could be put to good use. In the last twenty years, she has advocated for the rights of patients and their families in therapeutic areas such as virology, dermatology, women’s health, for premature babies and for the past six years in Oncology.

Fast forward to early 2020 when the world came to a halt because of Coronavirus. Marie knew there was more she could do; beyond already the great work she was doing as the Senior Community Relations Manager responsible for Oncology.

A meaningful partnership with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada (LLSC)

“When the pandemic started, I knew right away that people living with cancer would be one of the most impacted groups,” explains Marie. “Patient associations were working around the clock to adapt to the new reality, but they could not supply all the same services. Since we were already partnering with the LLSC, I first reached out to them and asked if I could help.”

The answer was a resounding "yes." LLSC was receiving countless calls a week from people and care partners asking about the virus, the vaccine, their treatments and what they should do to protect themselves.

“Everything was closed, and patients were scared. They needed accessible information and someone to assuage their concerns. So, LLSC asked if I could answer patient needs by demystifying the impact of COVID-19 on their daily life as people fighting cancer. In collaboration with their team, outside of my work, I developed twelve articles on several topics such as vaccination and caring for someone who is immunocompromised.”

From March to July 2020, Marie was able to dedicate one day a week to LLSC.

Volunteering at her local pharmacy in memory of her best friend

One year later, there was a shift in the pandemic, vaccination had begun, and Marie felt compelled to contribute to the mass effort. “I contacted my local pharmacist and told her that I wanted to help, but to make this even more meaningful, I wanted to do it in memory of Valerie, my best friend who passed away from lung cancer in July 2020, early in the pandemic.”


During the vaccination clinic’s set up, Marie was hard at work recruiting and training volunteers. Everyone was on board, including her partner, daughter, friends, and neighbours.

“It was overwhelming how people said yes and followed through. We were never short staffed. And boy did we have fun. We made the best out of a demanding situation. And I made so many profound connections with individuals coming for their vaccine. I was fortunate to speak to them when they took their first shot, and then see them again months later for their second shot. I was able to get an update on their lives and provide support when needed.”

Marie acknowledges that she would never have been able to volunteer and spend these hours out of the office without the tremendous support from her manager and the HR Director. She truly felt that the whole organization was behind her, encouraging her every step of the way.

“My knowledge and my work at AbbVie helped me navigate even the most challenging situations. I decided to volunteer because I felt supported and encouraged. I was inspired by so many colleagues who also volunteered and wanted to make a difference.”