When Oliver was diagnosed with Leukaemia, his mum and dad’s world was turned upside down.
They didn’t know what to expect. They were scared for their young son and all the treatment he’d go through. They were also worried about getting the right support, because their local hospital was 40 miles away.
Because they had life insurance with Royal London they were able to use Helping Hand – a personal support service.
A dedicated nurse got in touch and listened to their fears. She reassured them she’d be there for as long as they needed her.
They’d been given a lot of information from the hospital, so their nurse helped them understand the medical jargon.
They needed to make difficult decisions about Oliver’s treatment and felt overwhelmed. Their nurse supported them through this and spoke about possible outcomes.
They’ve been in regular contact with their nurse during all the difficult times over the past few years.
Helping Hand meant Oliver and his family had a constant source of support.
It’s been a tough journey but happily Oliver is doing well.
When Jenny was diagnosed with cancer, she was devastated and worried about how her family would cope. Because of her significant surgery, she knew she had a long road to recovery.
As well as feeling anxious about her treatment, she was stressed about being off work.
Luckily Jenny had Helping Hand, a personal support service from Royal London.
A dedicated nurse got in touch to see how she could help.
Jenny’s nurse gave advice on coping with the side effects of her treatment and recommended therapies to improve her strength. She also sent her information about her right to time off work.
Jenny felt reassured that when she needed to talk there would be someone to listen.
Her husband also had a dedicated nurse to help ease his worries.
Helping Hand meant Jenny and her family had a constant source of support.
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You never think it will happen to you. But what if it does?
Meet Adam. He’s just 45 years old and he works long hours as an administrator for a busy building company. He’s a family man, married, with two teenage children.
Out of the blue, Adam had a stroke which left him with ongoing problems with his speech, attention-span and decision-making. He was also suffering from poor memory and fatigue.
Adam was worried about being off work but was also anxious about returning - he lacked confidence, was unsure if he could function in his role and communicate with clients and colleagues.
All of this was causing stress. His future as the family’s breadwinner seemed bleak. The last thing he needed was more stress, at a time he needed to focus on his recovery.
Luckily, Adam was with Royal London. As well as helping him financially with the payout from his Income Protection, we were there to help him get back on his feet more quickly and to support him through a difficult time with our invaluable Helping Hand service.
Through Helping Hand, Adam was quickly given a personal nurse adviser from independent care advisory service Red Arc. His nurse adviser was there to support him with the emotional and practical support he needed. She explained all the effects a stroke can have, including the invisible ones, and got him an information pack from Different Strokes which supports younger survivors.
His nurse adviser told him about the support available – and gave him useful information to help him cope with his symptoms.
They talked about coping strategies and practical ways to help Adam deal with his memory problems – like electronic organisational tools.
She pointed Adam towards his local Headway – a charity that supports people who’ve been affected by a brain injury, like a stroke.
They organised free extra speech therapy sessions at home after Adam was discharged from the NHS – so he could recover more quickly.
They gave him software that he could use himself after the structured speech therapy sessions ended, so his recovery kept progressing. As well as a relaxation CD and self-help literature to help him manage stress and sleep better.
Getting plenty of sleep and being less stressed helped reduce Adam’s symptoms.
Helping Hand didn’t stop there. When Adam felt ready to go back to work, his personal nurse adviser gave him guidance about a phased return – to make sure he didn’t go full-time too early and set his recovery back. And they agreed to keep in touch regularly to see how he was getting on.
She also provided literature to share with his employer which gave them insight into his condition and helped them understand what he’d been through. Since then, they’ve been really supportive, which has helped Adam a lot.
Adam is gradually increasing his hours at work which is boosting his confidence. He’s also balancing his work and life commitments better and spending more time with his family.
With a Helping Hand from Royal London, Adam is back on his feet.
Royal London - we’ve got your back.
My name is Helen Jones, I’m 40 years of age and I have a son who’s five – Jacob. I’m a self-employed mortgage consultant and I work from home.
I took my cover out in 2010. My son was born in June 2010 and I started my own business in January 2010, so my priorities definitely changed once I’d had Jacob.
My role as an adviser gave me good insight into picking which insurance company I wanted to go for and I chose Royal London – not just because of the Life Insurance and their Critical Illness but for their added services like RedArc and Helping Hand.
My initial diagnosis came to light on the 15th of December when I’d been out with friends and I felt very bloated – and I put it down to maybe overeating before Christmas. I had a bloated tummy but that was my only symptom, I didn’t have any other symptoms.
I originally told the consultant and they told me that I had got a grade three/grade four tumour and I needed to have a full hysterectomy.
No-one can prepare you for that news. When the doctor tells you that you’ve got Cancer, the first thing that comes to your mind is ‘how is my son going to live without their mum?’.
I called Helping Hand and they helped me all the way through. So I told them what had happened at the NHS, I told them how I felt – I felt very lonely up until I spoke to Helping Hand. I was given Pat’s telephone number, email address and full name - so if I had any questions, small or major questions, I always had someone that I could contact, and for me, that was a lifeline for me.
When I first contacted Pat she basically got me to open up and asked me how I felt. At that time I was walking round in a daze for four or five days, so she got me to keep everything very calm and gave me some focus and direction on where we were going to go forward.
Pat covered a huge spectrum of things, so she sent me quite a few things through the post – this one to Jacob. So it allowed me to speak to Jacob about Cancer.
Once I’d spoken to Pat everything seemed to calm down, because I’d always got that reassurance that if someone at the hospital couldn’t help me, or my parents, or family, or friends couldn’t help me Pat definitely would be able to help me. Whatever question I had for Pat, if she didn’t know the answer she would go away and get the answer for me.
Pat called me and said that second opinion had come to Royal London and I was eligible to see another Consultant. She got in contact with my Consultant at Southend, my Consultant trained at the Royal Marsden Hospital, so she wanted me to go there, and that was one of the hospitals that Pat also researched for me too, which was perfect . I had no stress with it, she called the Royal Marsden ahead, she paid for all the fees, so one I’d got there I just had to fill the documentation in and everything else had already been paid for. They knew who I was and they knew who Pat was at RedArc.
Once I’d seen my Consultant at the Royal Marsden, he had assessed the slides again and it had gone from a grade three/four tumour to a grade one tumour which was huge for me.
Since getting the second opinion meant that I didn’t need to get the full hysterectomy, it then allowed me to go away and have fertility treatment so I could preserve my eggs which then means at a later date then Jacob could have a brother or sister.
The process was very straightforward; I had to have an interview at the doctor which took about five minutes – when I was diagnosed, what symptoms I had – and then within four weeks my claim was paid.
It’s allowed me to make choices; Out of my lump sum of Critical Illness it’s allowed me to preserve my fertility, take Jacob on holiday, and take a bit of time out of work really – as I said I’m self-employed so it’s just allowed me to sit back a little bit and just enjoy the twelve months of getting through chemotherapy and getting through the news.
I never thought I’d need to use my policy. I was fit - I was 39, I was going to the gym, I wasn’t overweight – and I think people think that ‘it’ll never happen to me’ and I was one of those people.
Without Helping Hand I don’t think I would’ve got through the last 12 months. My family was there for me every step of the way, but to have someone else do a lot of the work for you – like sort the fertility out, get in contact with your Consultant – was just life-changing for me.
My name is Jill Ruston. I’m married to Christopher. We’ve been married for 20 years now. We’ve got three children – three girls – Alice, Lorna and Gina. I’m a quality manager with a large rail freight company in the UK and I work full time.
We took the cover out in 2011. It’s one of those policies you take out and hope you’re never going to have to claim on it.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer on 5 September 2013. It was following a routine mammogram. I’d had no symptoms, no pain, no lumps. And the diagnosis came out the blue really.
We were all devastated. Obviously my husband, my children, my sisters. It was one of the hardest times I think we’ve been through.
When I was diagnosed we realised we’d taken this policy out. We contacted our financial adviser and I filled the forms out and we were paid out in a matter of weeks. The payout enabled Christopher to have some time off to look after me while I was poorly and having all the treatments. So then it was a case of we decided to have a nice holiday after all the treatment was finished.
My contact at Helping Hand was Linda. You’re given a breast care nurse when you’re diagnosed with breast cancer. Unfortunately the breast care nurses at Doncaster are really busy so it was nice to have someone who I could contact when I needed to talk or if I had any questions about any of my treatment or any of the symptoms I had – whether they were common or not common.
Linda contacted me after just I’d had my surgery in September. Our contact was mainly by telephone or email. I had a lumpectomy I think they called it. And then I had six rounds of chemotherapy and then three solid weeks of radiotherapy.
Linda was very, very supportive. I think the first thing Linda helped me with was how to listen and talk to the girls. That was one of the main areas I think at the beginning. Then obviously as my treatment progressed and I started to lose my hair and things, she advised me on products. And then when my hair started to come back she found me a hairdresser who specialised in new hair. So that was really helpful.
Linda also, when I was starting to recover, recommended a course of complementary therapy. She researched the complementary therapists in the Doncaster area and put me in contact with Jane.
Once I met Jane, we sat down and discussed a bespoke package that would help me on my road to recovery. I had reflexology and some hypnotherapy to help me start to take control of own recovery really.
When Helping Hand contacted me I spoke to a lovely lady called Linda who was a nurse adviser and she asked me whether I’d be prepared to offer some mix and match sessions for Jill to help with her recovery from breast cancer.
Jill, in particular, presented with quite a lot of tiredness when she first came to me. She was feeling quite exhausted and she was also having a lot of aches and pains due to her Herceptin injections. The reflexology she had with me in particular helped with increasing her energy levels, take control of her breathing and helped her to relax on a daily basis. It also helped her to experience symptomatic relief of the pain that she was in.
She found it was the start of her road to recovery.
Helping Hand has been very important to my recovery. Obviously the family have been the most important thing in my recovery. But Linda has been there if I’ve needed her. She’s taken a good part that the hospital nurses perhaps if they’d had the time would have done that.
Helping Hand was like a hug down the phone or a hug in an email. It just reassured you and Linda was there when I needed her.