How One Salesforce Employee Beat Cancer and Helped Raise Over $1 Million

John Greene, VP of Customer Centric Engineering at Salesforce, kicked cancer’s butt. Then he went on to help raise over $1 million for blood cancer research. And our family, the #SalesforceOhana, was there every step of the way.

Yeah, you might want to sit down for this.

John joined Salesforce in fall 2009 to build out the Customer Centric Engineering team. The Phish fan, avid biker, and father of two young sons was instantly at home in our culture, and by summer 2010 had a team of rock star engineers in place. The team was just starting to make big things happen when John found out he was sick, and everything turned upside down.

John went out on leave, underwent multiple rounds of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant, and chronicled everything in his blog. In under six months, he was back at work and stepped in to lead Salesforce in the 2011 Light the Night Walk to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. In just a few weeks, he helped pull together an incredible team of walkers and raised $60,000.

Four years later, fifteen Salesforce hubs in North America participate in Light the Night walks, and the company has collectively raised a staggering $1.2 million dollars – and counting! – for LLS. John is now almost five years out from his transplant (a huge milestone), and is healthy, happy, and more passionate than ever about curing blood cancer.

John is an inspiration to many. Yet, it’s the people of Salesforce who have been an inspiration to him. Here’s what John had to say about the power of the #SalesforceOhana and the remarkable change that is possible when we all come together. Check it out.

Support from leaders

When it comes to giving back and caring for our employees, I’ve seen our leaders really walk the walk. From the day I found out I was sick, my boss Benji Jasik was my advocate and completely involved. He connected me to his brother-in-law, a brilliant blood scientist, and helped get the message out to the whole company that I was looking for a bone marrow donor.

CEO Marc Benioff and Co-Founder Parker Harris got in touch with me right after that message went out. Marc made a generous donation to the LLS, and held an employee bone marrow drive to help me find a match. He even made sure I got the best care at UCSF. Once I returned to work, Marc pulled me onstage at the Dreamforce Town Hall so I could tell my story and get other employees involved. That exposure was game-changing, and I am so grateful for it.

Support from coworkers

The outpouring of support I received from my colleagues was astounding. Kirsten Wolberg set me up to lead Light the Night. Chuck Gutro, another cancer survivor, helped me get the word out about the cause. Oliver Demuth, who lost a dear friend to blood cancer, was instrumental in fundraising and taking our mission global. And there are many more stories like these.

An incredible number of Salesforce employees whom I had never even met have also gotten involved. Over 350 signed up for the bone marrow drive, and employees from around the world have brought Light the Night to their hubs. That just shows what kind of people work here.

“Philanthropy is interwoven into the fabric of Salesforce culture. Our leaders, our employees, and our community inspire me every day."

Support from our community

The philanthropic spirit that our people live is real, and it unites us. That giving and caring spirit extends from our leaders down to our employees and out into our neighborhoods and networks. All I did was tell my story. It was our executives who backed me up, our employees who jumped on board, and our community that fueled our greater mission.

There’s a reason Marc says, “The business of business is improving the state of the world.” Together, we are capable of making amazing things happen. I couldn’t do any of this alone. It takes a special kind of culture to make it all possible. If we can all just remember that as we go about our days, well, then we’ve succeeded in my book.

What can we all take away from John’s incredible story? The unparalleled strength that lies in the #SalesforceOhana. We are a family that extends across the globe; a support network filled with caring, compassionate, daring, and determined people.

Get Involved

Make a donation or register to walk and get us one step closer to wiping out blood cancer.

Rock Out

In the Bay Area? Come out to support John and his band Chum, a Tribute to Phish. They will be honoring LLS, Be the Match, and UCSF in San Francisco on April 15. Get your tickets now.

Join the Ohana

Interested in becoming a member of the Salesforce family? Find opportunities at salesforce.com/careers.