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We made a pledge in 2018, for every completed mortgage, both purchase and remortgage, we made a donation to The Grand Appeal.
Founded in 1995, the award-winning charity has raised over £50 million to save lives and support sick children and their families at Bristol Children’s Hospital.
The Grand Appeal supports Bristol Children’s Hospital with pioneering, life-saving equipment and research, including ventilators, a cardiac hybrid theatre and an inter-operative MRI scanner, so that each child receives the best care possible. They offer comfort through their Grand Appeal family support worker and their home-from-home accommodation, where parents and siblings stay free of charge, for as long as they need. They ensure the hospital is a vibrant and child friendly place and help distract the young patients through their music therapy, art and play programmes
Sunday 4 February is World Cancer Day, the aim of which is to raise awareness of cancer and help fight this disease that affects so many. In 2014 in the UK there were 356,860 new cases of cancer and 163,444 deaths from cancer.(1)
We all think that it won’t happen to us, or if it does it will be later, not yet. We still have time! But cancer does not discriminate and it does not wait. Read T’s cancer story:
“I was in the process of being referred to fertility treatments through my GP when, during a scan the nurse mentioned something suspicious that I may want to get checked out, a polyp in my womb. We were still waiting for the referral to come through and I had just been included on my husband’s private health care policy provided from his work, so we made the decision to get it looked at straight away privately.
I had biopsies taken and had a follow up booked for 4 weeks’ time. The first hint that something serious was going on was when the PA rang us on a Monday morning insisting we come in for our follow up the next day instead of later in the week. My first thought was the possibility of cancer because surely it wasn’t going to be good news after that call! We tried to convince ourselves it wasn’t cancer throughout the day.
Sure enough, it was cancer – endometrial adenocarcinoma, the lining of my womb had cancerous cells. I had an MRI a couple of weeks later and, thankfully, nothing was detected meaning it hadn’t grown or created a mass anywhere. It was caught very early so was only Grade 1, Stage 1A, the lowest you can go for a cancer diagnosis.
Our initial reaction to hearing that I had cancer was shock. You just don’t expect to be diagnosed with cancer, even if you believe it’s possible and you have a family history of cancer. I was only 37, considered young for this type of cancer (and even my consultant was shocked by the outcome), but certainly not the youngest. I know of people much younger than me that have been diagnosed with womb cancer, same as me. There were 9,324 new cases and 2,166 deaths from uterine cancer in the UK in 2014. (2)
Looking back over my reaction to the news, I was very level headed. Shocked and upset, of course! But also very logical about what my treatment options would be. I honestly have no idea how I managed to hold myself together throughout the last year.
Ultimately, I was lucky to have the opportunity to catch it as early as possible and to see a consultant who listened and took into account what I wanted to do. I tried fertility-sparing treatments and when it was apparent 6 months later that it wasn’t working as fast as it needed to, I made the very difficult decision to have a hysterectomy. I’m happy to say I am officially cancer free now, but it cost me dearly in some ways. Cancer has changed what we thought our future would look like, but I survived it and made it through the other side. Not everyone is as lucky as I am.
Womb cancer is considered an “easy cancer” because it has a treatment option that works 100% if caught in time. But I don’t think there’s such a thing as an “easy cancer”. It still changes everything and you’re haunted by it no matter what kind of cancer you have/had.”
If you get cancer how supportive would your employer be if you have to take time off work to go for regular trips to the hospital for appointments, treatments or operations? For a more serious cancer you may have to stop working altogether. How would you continue to pay your bills, your mortgage, or buy food for your family. Not to mention the added costs of travelling to appointments, parking, or food while you’re away from home. It all adds up!
The ‘cost of cancer’ isn’t just about your health, which is devastating in its own right. The monetary cost of cancer can be calculated as the loss of income and additional costs experiences as a result of your diagnosis – all that travelling, parking and so on.
But what does that mean to you? On average:
• 4 in 5 cancer patients have £570 extra a month to pay (3)
• 1 in 3 cancer patients lose £860 a month in earnings (3)
• 6 in 7 cancer patients see monthly expenses shoot up by £270 (3)
T was lucky, an early diagnosis and no need for radiotherapy or chemotherapy meant she could carry on with her daily routine for the most part. It’s one of the best possible scenarios you can get for a cancer diagnosis, but it won’t happen like that for most people.
No one can guarantee 100% that you won’t get cancer, and you can’t guarantee it will be a ‘best case’ scenario if you do.
Contact us today to ensure you have the right protection in place to keep you and your family financially stable during what is a very scary ordeal.
1 Cancer Research UK, http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/incidence, Accessed 17 January 2018
2 Cancer Research UK, http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/statistics-by-cancer-type/uterine-cancer, Accessed 17 January 2018
3 Cost of Cancer, http://www.costofcancer.org.uk/, Accessed 17 January 2018
Source: Steve Berry, Protection Manager, First Complete Limited, 30.01.2018
September is not just Childhood Cancer Awareness Month but also host to the highly popular World’s Biggest Coffee Morning for MacMillan Cancer Support and Dryathlon for Cancer Research UK.
Many of us will be hosting or attending coffee mornings and some of us may even be going dry for September to help raise funds for cancer. With almost half the UK population estimated to be diagnosed with a form of cancer within their lifetime(1) you’ll be hard pressed to find someone that has not known someone affected, or been affected themselves, by cancer. MacMillan Cancer Support estimated that by the end of 2016 1,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer every day(2).
But it’s not all doom and gloom… while incidents of cancer may be on the rise, so are survival rates. People are living 10 times longer after a cancer diagnosis than they were 40 years ago and half of people with cancer are expected to survive for at least 10 years(3) But is just surviving cancer enough?
Let’s take a closer look at costs. Macmillan’s ‘Cancer’s Hidden Price Tag'(4) research report reveals the sheer scale of the financial burden faced by people living with cancer. On average:
• Four out of five cancer patients lose £570 a month.
• One in three loses £860 a month in earnings because they are unable to work or have to cut down their hours.
• Six in seven see their monthly expenses increase by £270 a month.
The cost of cancer is calculated as the loss of income and the additional costs experienced as a result of a person’s diagnosis.
MacMillan also looked into what surviving cancer looks like and found that around 25% of survivors deal with poor health or disability after treatment ends and estimated that 500,000 living with cancer in 2010 have one or more physical or psychosocial consequences that affects their lives long-term(5).
While it’s great news that more and more people are surviving a cancer diagnosis and getting the all clear after treatment that doesn’t necessarily mean you will be fighting fit and back to what was “normal” before your diagnosis. It can be a tough pill to swallow once the new picture of your future becomes clear.
You can’t protect yourself from getting diagnosed with cancer but you can be prepared financially if you are diagnosed. How would you deal with a diagnosis? Advances in medicine and rising survival mean you may recover from your illness but what if you could not cope with going back to work?
You can do more than just survive cancer, having proper protection in place means you will continue living with minimal disruption once you have undergone treatment and fully recovered.
2. http://www.macmillan.org.uk/documents/aboutus/research/keystats/statisticsfactsheet.pdf page 5
3. http://www.macmillan.org.uk/documents/aboutus/research/keystats/statisticsfactsheet.pdf page 7
Source: Steve Berry, Protection Manager, First Complete Limited, 28.09.2016
A recent study from Shelter revealed that more than a third of families (37%)(1) in England could not afford to pay housing costs for more than one month if they lost their income and 23% of working families would be unable to pay housing costs at all.
For some families, losing income and having to rely on savings means losing your home could become a real possibility.
Income Protection is important whether you rent your home or have a mortgage. If you get ill, lose your job or have your hours cut how will you pay your rent and utilities? Do you have enough savings to pay your bills while you find another job or recover from an illness?
Income Protection isn’t just about protecting your income. It also protects your home and livelihood so you can focus on finding a new job or getting better instead of where you will sleep tonight or if they will eat today.
Source: Steve Berry, Protection Manager, First Complete Limited, 06.09.2016
The need to protect your income could be one of the most important protection needs you have – it doesn’t matter where you live; with family, a rental property, or if you own your own home with a mortgage, it’s likely you’ll have weekly, monthly and more irregular outgoings that wouldn’t just go away or wait politely if you were unable to work. Bills for housing, loans, credit cards, council tax, utilities, food, unavoidable travel expenses, insurances, clothing, etc would still need to be paid. For anyone with dependent children, a whole range of other necessary and discretionary costs may come into play. What about the everyday discretionary expenses (that many take for granted)… internet, mobile phone, TV packages – many on contracts with charges to cancel? Forget savings and pensions contributions, this is about basic financial survival as a minimum and maintaining a semblance of the standard of living you enjoy as an aspiration. Bottom line, if your or your partner’s income stops, where will the money come from to pay your bills that have to be paid, and that you would prefer to keep paying?
If you have an income it may need to be protected! Income protection provides a replacement income in the event that you cannot work due to illness or injury so that you can continue paying your bills while you are unable to work.
If you are too ill to work and rely on state benefits the most you’ll get is £88.45 per week for 28 weeks(1). It’s possible you’ll get more if your employer has a sick pay scheme, but not guaranteed!
So that’s just over £350 per month for 6 months. Can you live on that? Will that pay your mortgage or rent, utility bills, food, mobile phone bill, petrol to get to and from the doctors or hospital if needed? Probably not.
And what if you’re sick for longer than 6 months? You could apply for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). If you’re entitled to this benefit you can get up to £109.30 per week depending on your circumstances and which group you are placed in(2).
That’s still only a maximum of just over £400 per month. Again, that’s probably not enough to live on meagerly, let alone comfortably.
Income Protection can pay you a monthly income based on a percentage of your annual income so you won’t be scrounging for change in the sofa cushions to keep the lights on when what you should be focusing on is getting better without worrying about money.
Having income protection in place can take away some of the worry and stress during an already stressful time. Take preventative action today to help you deal with the possible difficulties if you fall ill or get injured and as a result are unable to work.
Contact us today to find out how we can help you find the right protection for your needs!
Source: Steve Berry, Protection Manager, First Complete Limited, 02.08.2016
The dictionary describes a father as
• A male parent
• A man who exercises paternal care over other persons.
But what is a father really? The obvious thoughts are breadwinner and provider but perhaps that’s more the role dads see themselves performing. Through the child’s eyes, dad is the hero, teacher, confidante and playmate; the one who mends the broken toy, asks about their day, helps with their homework, teaches them to ride a bike, plays football, has a pillow fight, or reads them a story. Quite a hero!
Dads will say one of their main roles is protector and they’ll do this in many ways; child-proofing the home, teaching kids how to cross a road, making sure they use a car seat, etc. All of these are vital to a child’s well-being but financial protection is vitally important too: how many of you have life insurance, critical illness cover, income protection or a will? You need it, because the unexpected can happen…
Every day more than 100 children lose a parent in the UK (1). Yet, shockingly, less than a third of parents have any Critical Illness cover (28%), Income Protection (19%) or Family income benefit (13%) (2). You could go from hero to zero in a stroke. Literally!
Nothing will replace a dad in the eyes of the child but financial support, when everything else is sad and scary, will make an enormous difference, maintaining some sort of normality in a topsy turvy world. For mum, it’ll ensure that emotional stress isn’t accompanied by financial strain.
With millions of families celebrating Father’s Day on the 19th June, make sure you give your children a present too – some financial security should anything unseen happen to their hero.
Speak to us today to find out how we can help
Happy Father’s Day!
2. Legal and General Value of a Parent research 2015
Source: Steve Berry, Protection Manager, First Complete Limited, 16.06.2016
The weather has finally warmed up and the sun has even been out recently, giving us a taste of summer. Roll on BBQs, beer gardens, and days out enjoying the sun – while it lasts!
But time out in the sun can come with a hefty price tag. Did you know skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the UK? There are at least 100,000 new cases and over 2,500 people die from skin cancer every year(1). Anyone of any age can be diagnosed. Even though we are more aware of the risks now than before, incidence rates for malignant melanoma have risen 360% since the 1970s(2).
Cancer is consistently the top claim reason for critical illness products for providers available on our panel (3)(4)(5), yet we do little to help ourselves. 80% of us are not applying sunscreen when going out in the sun according to a recent survey carried out by the British Association of Dermatologists (6). The survey also found that 70% of us aren’t reapplying sunscreen every 2 hours as recommended.
Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and rarely do we think about the risks of cancer when we are out enjoying nice weather. It doesn’t take much time out in the sun to damage your skin and that damage, when it builds up over time, can add up to a scary diagnosis.
So, if you’re spending time in the sun this summer don’t forget the sunscreen! And don’t forget to talk to us about ‘Cancer Cover’!
Source: Steve Berry, Protection Manager, First Complete Limited, 08.06.2016