I am Bold for Life: Caitlin Sandahl
"I think that being bold is not only in your actions, but in your attitude,” says Caitlin. “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 and I think that’s certainly what Allergan does.”
Caitlin Sandahl’s bold story began when she decided to move back to her home state of Arizona, leaving her 9 to 5 job in Colorado in search of a more dynamic career.
“I realized that I just don’t want to be behind a desk,” says Caitlin. “That’s just not my personality. That’s not really what’s meant for me. So I spoke to a friend who worked for Forest Laboratories, at the time, in Arizona…I researched the industry and learned what it would be like to be out in the field and doing sales and it certainly seemed like something I thought I would be good at.”
After becoming a rep and spending time in retail, Caitlin soon made another bold move in her life after 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,” says Caitlin. “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.
“I didn’t even know the bacteria existed,” Caitlin says. “The experience I had in the hospital with him was what really led me to researching the work Allergan does with antibiotics.”
Building Bridges to Help Others
A year later, Caitlin applied to become an institutional sales representative and has never looked back, changing the scope of her career to help others who face challenges similar to what her brother faced, and still faces every day.
While being motivated and inspired by her brother, Caitlin doesn’t often share their story with doctors, using her back story as a personal motivator instead of as a sales pitch. In fact, Dr. Anneski is the only doctor Caitlin regularly calls on that knows about her brother Kevin.
“I think it’s wonderful that Caitlin stepped up to the challenge,” says Dr. Anneski, “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’.”
Outside of her bold moves to further her career, Caitlin spends her free time playing on both volleyball and soccer teams, and is a member of a local charity called "Valley of the Sun Active 20-30 Club," a group committed to hands-on fundraising for and participation in 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,” says 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 is what really sets Caitlin apart, as someone who encompasses being BOLD for life, a title and description that she fully embraces.