Pharma Hero Profile: It’s Just Another Day on the Job

Pharma Hero profile

Pharma Hero Profile: It’s Just Another Day on the Job

Through the Pharma Heroes program, we’ve collected multiple stories of every day heroes working in the pharma and biotech industry. These recognitions prove that even small acts help save lives and heal patients. We’re profiling some of our favorite nominations so you can learn more about the people behind the mask.

Caitlin Sandahl
Institutional Sales Representative, Allergan

Recognized by Mark Marmur, Allergan

“I think that being bold is not only in your actions, but in your attitude,” Caitlin said. “How you present yourself to your community, to your doctors, to your colleagues and to yourself, with your family life and the people that surround you. Being bold can certainly be inspiring.”

Caitlin Sandahl’s heroic tale began when her brother, Kevin, was hospitalized with infectious bacteria that would claim half of his upper body.

“[Kevin] was carrying a couch and it slipped and scraped his arm,” Caitlin said. “And for 3 days he watched as his arm progressively got worse and a little more swollen, until, finally, he drove himself to the hospital…where they found out it was necrotizing fasciitis.”

After nearly 2 months in the hospital, which included multiple surgeries and a 2-week medically induced coma, it was decided that Kevin needed to have practically the entire right half of his upper body amputated; taking some ribs, his clavicle and his right arm while leaving only scar tissue behind.

The experience inspired Caitlin, who was an Allergan sales representative working in Primary Care at the time, to explore a path that might be able to help save others going through what her brother had to endure.

“I didn’t even know [the bacteria] existed,” Caitlin said. ”The experience I had in the hospital with him was what really led me to researching the work [Allergan does] with antibiotics.”

A year later, Caitlin applied to become an institutional sales representative supporting the company’s anti-infective medicines and has never looked back; changing the scope of her career to help others who face similar challenges that her brother faced and still faces every day.

“I think it’s wonderful that [Caitlin] stepped up to the challenge,” said Dr. Anneski, the only doctor whom Caitlin regularly calls on who knows her story. “To say ‘I’m not going to be resentful but that I’m going to use this to better other people and better myself and the research…to help doctors treat these conditions.”

When she’s not busy being a hero in the workplace, Caitlin spends her free time as a member of the local charity Valley of the Sun Active 20-30 Club – an organization dedicated to fundraising and participating in organized hands-on activities with local children’s charities.

“Having my brother go through what he went through really changed my whole family and how we look at life,” said Caitlin. “I realized the fragility of life and how the little things you stress about make no difference. So I really try to fill my days, as much as possible with work and with something fun and something giving back to the community and try to keep that balanced lifestyle.”

That attitude and outlook on life are what really demonstrate that Caitlin is someone who encompasses being a Pharma Hero. But, in her eyes, it’s just another day on the job.”

Tell us in a few words, or as many as you want, about a Pharma Hero you know.