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Nicola and Jeremy's story - Critical Illness

Nicola and Jeremy started their LV= Critical illness policy in February 2002 when Sam, their oldest son, was just 3 years old. When Sam was 14, they found a lump on his neck. They booked a doctor’s appointment just to make sure everything was ok. Unfortunately things weren’t ok and after a number of tests, Sam was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (a rare cancer that develops in the lymphatic system). From that day onwards, all of their lives changed.

Luckily, Nicola and Jeremy had the support of their family and friends who were able to look after the other children each time they had to take Sam to the hospital.

Thankfully, Sam is now in remission, and Nicola and Jeremy have decided to keep their £25,000 payment aside for Sam, for when he is older.

Everybody thinks it’s never going to happen to them and we thought the same, but not anymore, it happened in the blink of an eye and in a moment everything changes.

Nicola and Jeremy, Critical illness customers since 2002

Video transcript

Nicola: We have four children; the eldest Sam is 16 now.

Jeremy: My stepfather is a financial adviser. When Nicola and I started having children he recommended a couple of policies. There was some protection insurance for if I lost my job and he also recommended a critical illness insurance.

Nicola: Well we went out one day, it was the 21st of December 2013 and it was when we got back, Jeremy’s mum, who had been looking after the children said that Sam had found a lump on his neck.

Jeremy: As time went on through that Christmas and New Year period and the lump didn’t go down we started to get progressively more worried and by the time we came back from our New Year break we were very keep to get the medical process started and got down the GP. And then we went back a week later and the doctor had had the results of the biopsy and he confirmed it was Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Meant that he had to have four months of treatment; chemotherapy treatment. Once the treatment started he was put on a program of 20-day cycles: five consecutive days of treatment and one treatment on the 8th day of the cycle and one treatment on the fifteenth day of the cycle – so that was like seven days in twenty that we had to go up to London.

Nicola: A tube was inserted up to the neck and a vein that goes to the heart. So all of his chemotherapy, all the blood tests that he had, everything that he needed, fluids and everything would all go through one of these two ports that came out of his arm, that he kept in for the entire time of the treatment. Obviously the treatment, the hair loss – that’s a big thing, and that starts happening pretty quickly.

Jeremy: They were amazing at the hospital.

Nicola: Not sure how we got through January, it was really really tough, I mean Sam started his treatment. But like you say, you do it, and you carry him along, you gear everybody up and just do what has to be done.

Jeremy: I think my stepfather came over towards the end of January. He said have you got the LV= life policy document. Brought it to him and he had a little flick through. He said that there’s a provision in the policy should one of your children become sick.

Nicola: Think insurance companies as a whole tend to have that reputation of if they can get out of it they will. So we didn’t think too much, we thought oh ok we’ll look into it but we didn’t think too much of it.

Jeremy: I called up. I was met with a very sympathetic response. I received the claim form very quickly. I filled it in and not long after I was contacted by Helen who said that she was going to manage the claim for us and I just got the impression from speaking to her that she was working for us, you know, with us rather than against us. It felt like she wanted to give us the money that we were entitled to.

Nicola: She sounded like she cared.

Jeremy: Very soon after that we were given a cheque for £25,000.

Nicola: We were lucky. We had all the help we needed. I wasn’t working so was able to be with Sam the whole time. Jeremy – they were very understanding when he did need time off. So we decided to keep the money back for Sam. When he wants to do something that is significant, it’s there for him. It's his.

Jeremy: 2014 for us was a year that we definitely don’t want to repeat – you know awful – but at the same time it was a year when we really realised how lucky we were in many ways. The love and support we were given was unbelievable. After seeing the treatment that Sam got from January through to May, particularly at the UCLH’s teenage cancer trusts ward I just thought I’d like to raise some money for them so we’re going to do the London to Brighton bike ride, and Sam’s going to do it with us.

Nicola: I mean it’s the old cliché; everybody thinks it’s never going to happen to us, and we thought that. Not anymore, I mean it can just happen, and it happens in the blink of an eye and just in a moment, everything changes.

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