William was paying his Nan’s mortgage as well as paying rent for himself and his fiancée Nicky in 2010; at the same time they were starting their new removals business, so finances were stretched. Neither of them were prepared for the emotional and financial shocks that came when their two and a half year old daughter, Summer, was diagnosed with Leukaemia. They ran out of money in just a week.
I started a removals company about three years ago and I went off to a job, which is about 30 miles away from where I lived at the time and my work colleague had a phone call, and he said, ‘Oh, it’s your girlfriend’s mum.’ he said, ‘You’ve got to go to Worthing Hospital’ and I said, ‘Why?’ and he said, ‘Don’t ask any questions, you’ve just got to go now.’ It’s halfway through a job, we've got customer’s possessions on our vehicle, we can't just go now, and he said, ‘You have to. Summer’s got leukaemia.’
When I got told, I literally dropped to the floor and started crying. Summer, at the time was two and a half and I went into the hospital, Nicky is my fiancé, she went too, and to us it was a death sentence, we didn’t know anything about childhood cancer, expect for one person we knew had leukaemia and they passed away.
The doctors said we can’t give you any sort of prognosis; you are going to have to go to Southampton General Hospital. They were also good at what they do. The doctors said, ‘Right, it is this sort of leukaemia, she has got this sort of infection, it is called ALL Leukaemia,’ which is the – if you can call it the ‘good one’, it is the good one to get.
They basically gave us a rundown of how the treatment was going to go. She started on the treatment and we were beginning to run out of money very quickly. We had to stay in the hospital and stay away from home. At the time, we were renting a property but we were also paying a mortgage off for my Nan. At the same time that all of this was happening I was a carer for her as well, so I was trying to look after her from a distance and look after my kid, pay our rent and our bills from our house, started a new business, a removals business, we had x-amount of money when we went to the hospital, and within a week that was pretty much gone.
We thought, well, we better phone a couple of people and see if we can pay our bills a bit later. Our mortgage provider decided that we were quite a high risk and they weren’t prepared to do that, so they said, no, we want every penny. My bank at the time decided that I was high risk now, because my daughter was ill and they wanted the overdraft paid back within seven days, so that was…you know, that was like a double-blow, it was a bit of a kick in the teeth to be honest with you, it made you feel that no one really cared, so we thought we were absolutely screwed, to be honest with you. We thought we were going to lose our house that we were renting, we thought my Nan was going to lose her house, and we thought that the business was going to go down the pan and that my bank charges would just go up and up and put us into debt for the rest of our lives, with have no house, no money, no job. In fact, all the way through treatment we didn’t know for a fact that Summer was going to be okay. It felt like no one actually cared about you if you had issues, it was just like, well, they're your issues, it is your fault she has got cancer, deal with it.
Someone mentioned that they had critical illness for their family on their own life insurance. Because I had taken out a mortgage on a property and I was a self-employed person, my financial advisor had told me to take out life cover to cover the mortgage if anything happened to me, and as we were getting towards the end of our stay in hospital, I phoned up the Legal & General number, I didn’t really know who to speak to, I just went through some options and said, ‘Look, this has happened, I need to speak to someone and see if I am covered.’ The people at Legal & General had done all of that for us, they checked my account for me, because obviously I didn’t have any paperwork with me, and they said, ‘It turns out you are covered, but we need to get a letter from the doctor and this, that and the other, the oncologists, specialists and find out exactly what form it is.’
I would say, I think within a month the whole money was in our account, we got a £15,000 payout. It lasted long enough to get us through that situation, pay off the overdraft to the bank that I owed to, pay the mortgage, pay the rent and generally, I don’t think we would have anything left if it wasn’t for that initial payout.
Legal & General is the only insurance company I would recommend to anyone for any form of life insurance.
The long and short of it is, Legal & General really did sort our lives out, and I know people say money doesn’t buy happiness, but it really, really helps. If you're in a situation like that, you can’t…if you haven’t got money, there is no one out there that will help you, unless you have got that sort of cover and that is why we really appreciate what Legal & General did for us.