This is the real-life story of Dani, as told by her financial adviser Amanada Cassar of Wealth Planning Partners
Dani is the daughter of a client I’ve had for some time. Her mum Jessie approached me to assist with some Salary Packaging strategies as she’s a nurse, and we soon became friends. Jessie is a happy, friendly, hospitable woman and extremely proud of her two beautiful daughters. She also happens to share her name with my great-grandmother – so we now consider each other as family.
On finding out her youngest had been diagnosed with leukaemia at age 22, she was distraught, but went straight into protection, carer and nurture mode – it seems to come especially easy to her as both a mother and a nurse!
Jessie also requested that I go through some of Dani’s paperwork to see if there was anything financially she had that could help out. Included in that bundle was a statement of superannuation benefits for an industry fund which included lump sum cover for Death and Total & Permanent Disability (TPD). Dani’s prognosis was grim for the immediate future and likely the coming 3-5 years or beyond, meaning a possible total disablement claim. In any case, it wouldn’t hurt to try.
I assisted Dani when she was feeling up to it, to complete the paperwork, liaise with her doctors, the hospital and submit the paperwork, all within a couple of weeks of the insurance lapsing due to the fact that she’d now left work and no further employer funds were being paid.
And that’s possibly when the true battle began. Dani’s health was up and down; eventually reducing to 32 kgs; falling and breaking her tailbone; being accidentally overdosed by the hospital along with the usual treatments for her condition. Tests eventually confirmed Dani had beaten the leukaemia but had a serious complication following the marrow transplant known as GVHD (Graft vs. Host Disease) where the immune cells in the graft recognise the recipient as a foreign host and attack the hosts’ body cells.
The doctors also were slow to respond to the paperwork requirements and unwilling to complete the relevant pages requested by the insurance company to confirm TPD and finally and sadly, we had to switch to a Terminal Illness claim when Dani was told she had less than 12 months to live. Hundreds of pages of reports followed and after much frustration and work over fourteen months, the Case Manager finally rang to advise me we had a payout on the way!
Dani has put on a couple of kilograms, is still in hospital but remains incredibly positive and was delighted to turn 24 a few months ago. I’ve been asked to assist her to find a new home, close to hospital and where she can concentrate on recuperating as best she can and devote more time the creative arts she loves.
Being financially independent now provides Dani with options – she can concentrate on her health and wellbeing, provide medically for her needs and allows her some financial freedom.