Movement employee finds workplace support through breast cancer battle

Joanne Hewett, a jumbo loan processor for Movement at the Tempe Ops Center, received shocking news on April 6: a breast cancer diagnosis. Because Joanne has always been healthy and extremely energetic, her unexpected diagnosis was ominous.

“At first it took me aback,” Joanne elaborated, so “I needed to figure out how to deal with it.”

Joanne’s jumbo team lead, Leslie Renfroe, encourages Joanne in the midst of her battle against breast cancer.

After meeting with doctors and discussing treatment options, Joanne was scheduled for 17 treatments — that’s a lot of time and money to spend in a doctor’s office. With her intense treatment schedule, Joanne was unable to continue working. Dealing with cancer is terrifying, and being unable to work made the circumstance even more worrisome.

But Joanne was not alone.

Love Works, a fund generated by employees to aid teammates in crisis, was able to step in after Joanne received her diagnosis by assisting with some expenses and by placing Joanne on its prayer list.

I am so grateful,” Joanne explains. “I was finally able to breathe again and know that everything was going to be okay.” Love Works was a “godsend.”

Because of Movement Founders Toby and Casey’s dedication to loving and valuing those around them, as well as the constant donations from Movement employees, Love Works has helped numerous Movement team members who are struggling with serious life challenges.

“Who does that?” Joanne asked. What kind of CEO’s match contributions made by their employees? “My family is completely in awe of Casey’s and Toby’s love for their employees.”

Joanne was also stunned by the encouragement she received directly from the Love Works employees; both Danae Diller and Karen Elling met with Joanne at her sister’s home after learning of Joanne’s diagnosis to make sure she was doing well.

The check-ins from Danae and Karen continued. Karen, Joanne says, “followed up with me after almost every treatment. They both have been with me — helping me through this.”

Danae and Karen say they were the ones who walked away in awe. Joanne “has such a bright light still shining through her in the midst of some very challenging circumstances,” Danae explained. “She is one of those people that blesses you just by being around her.”

Joanne’s coworkers also reached out to her. Joanne’s manager consistently contacted Joanne after her chemo treatments, just to make sure she was doing okay, and a GoFundMe page was created by her teammates to help cover any additional costs.

When she temporarily came back to work in late April after initially receiving her diagnosis and beginning treatments, Joanne’s team members across several Movement operation centers decked out in pink garb in honor of their friend. Much to Joanne’s surprise, her manager even colored his hair pink.

The Movement employees around Joanne did what Movement employees always seem to do: they loved on Joanne and rallied around her.


Movement employees as far away as Virginia Beach donned pink – the signature color of breast cancer awareness and support – to encourage Joanne.

“I can’t say enough about Movement and what my coworkers mean to me,” Joanne gushed. “It’s wonderful.”

She’s here to stay

Although Joanne still has more treatments to go, her optimism and positive outlook on life are contagious. She’s now back at work and loving every minute of it. When she permanently rejoined Movement last week, she was surprised with a bold “welcome back” sign and pink scarfs to wear around her head, courtesy of her coworkers. Clearly, her coworkers were “anxious for her to get back” and to feel better.

Joanne’s story shows how love not only works; it comforts, heals, encourages and inspires. At Movement, love truly is a verb.

**#MyMovement is a company campaign to share and connect significant stories from our team members, homebuyers and industry connections across the globe. With #MyMovement, we hope to make the personal generosity, kindness, service and social awareness of our own community contagious.


About the Author:

Adam O'Daniel

Adam O'Daniel is Movement's Communications Director. He leads corporate communication and public relations efforts across the organization. Email him at