Matt's story

Meet Matt

Matt, a self employed mortgage and protection adviser, talks about the impact on his family when his son Lewis was diagnosed with Leukaemia at 3 years old. Legal & General paid out on both his and his wife’s Children’s Critical Illness Benefit, helping Matt keep the family home and focus on Lewis’ recovery. We were glad to be able to help at a time when he needed it most.

Transcript

Before everything happened, life was just normal.  We were just a normal family.  We had a – just short of a three-year old, so two years 11-month-year-old, so we just had the usual things that people go through, sleepless nights with him and the usual terrible twos, that sort of stuff.  In fact, he was generally a good little lad anyway, but normal.  

Lewis was, for about two or three weeks, every few days he had another spot come up on his leg and then his thigh and then his stomach, and then one went onto his neck and one on his face, and then one day, one went into his eyelid.  As naïve parents would be, it is our first child, we thought, well, perhaps, it is his moles coming through.  He then started becoming really, really lethargic and one day he lay on the sofa and he didn’t want anything to eat.  He just lay down.  We thought, ‘right, let's get him off to the doctors, let's give him a call’.  The doctor, it sounds bad, but he just said, ‘yeah, it is probably some sort of virus’, wrote some notes, folded it up and put it in an envelope, and he said, ‘just take that up’ and he just passes it like this, says, ‘just take it up the local hospital and just get a blood test, see what it is like’.  So we got us from Rugby to Coventry and I handed over the envelope and they opened the envelope and said, ‘yes, come through, we will just take a blood test’, and that is what they did, they just took a blood test. 

I found out later that that letter actually said, “Test for Leukaemia” and they gave us that news there and then after they got the blood test back, and said that Lewis had been diagnosed with Leukaemia.  

I didn’t know what to think.  It was like, ‘what is going to happen with him?’  Will everything be okay?  I didn’t know the first thing about Leukaemia; I hadn’t the clue.  I didn’t know what his chances were at survival, how we were going to get through it, didn’t know, just didn’t know what to do.  It was, yes, a dark time, I think.  

We had to cope.  We didn’t have any option, we just had to get through it, and fortunately for Anne, my wife, she was a teacher and they were fantastic with her.  They said to have off as much time as needed to help Lewis out.  I am self-employed, so I had to get back and work, just didn’t know what to do.  Then we spoke to L&G.  

They just helped us when we needed it most.  We had the right policy, but they made it easy.  It wasn’t just another phone call when I rang.  It was, ‘really sorry that we hear about your son’, you actually knew that they understood and they were genuinely sorry for us and wanted to help in every way and they did.  

I phoned up, I think within two or three days they had already contacted Lewis’s consultant and they had responded and the money was in my bank account.  It was a massive relief, £30,000, wow, that is fantastic.  We have got money that will help us get through this process.  We have got some money to help take him to hospital.  We had to buy a new car, because it was his steroids, the steroids were probably the most destructive part of the whole process for him, because the chemotherapy he got through quite well, but the steroids, they made his legs ache, so he couldn’t get into the back of the car that we had without some discomfort, so we then had to buy a new car and that was just so much easier for him to get in and out of.  It was just a relief that we had options.  By being financially okay with the help of Legal & General, that was a massive boost for us, that we could not panic.  We still had the worry of Lewis, but that was one major worry out of the way.  

I think a lot of people just think, ‘it is not going to happen to me’, and to be honest, it probably doesn’t happen to them, but if it does, and it has happened to us, it is just so much better to have that cover in place, because I think we would have had to sell the house, my business probably wouldn’t have gone through as well as it had if we hadn’t had that help to get us through the – it is the initial hit of the diagnosis.  We got the “all clear” last week, that is after two and a half years of being off his chemotherapy and he is back to being a normal healthy little boy.  

Doing well, aren’t you? 

Lewis

Yes. 

  

Matt Clarke

You enjoy school, don’t you?

  

Lewis

Yes. 

 
Matt Clarke

You good at sports?

 

Lewis

No.  
 

Matt Clarke

No.  You good at maths and English, aren’t you?

  

Lewis

Yes. 

 
Matt Clarke

You're going to be an advisor like your daddy?

 
Lewis

No. 

 

Matt Clarke

No.