Helen was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2016.
When she joined the police, Helen chose not to join the Group Insurance Scheme. As a young single woman, her focus wasn’t on how she might cope with a serious illness from a financial perspective. She says, “becoming a wife and mother changed my priorities and with hindsight, I should have re-visited membership of the GIS some time ago.”
As well as the psychological trauma, Helen found that her illness introduced some very significant and unexpected challenges. For example, she’s unable to get life or travel insurance now, at least for the foreseeable future. Furthermore, the financial impact from the loss of overtime and shift allowance were unwelcome consequences, which would have been easily negated by the membership of the GIS.
Helen says, “although most people don’t expect to have to deal with a serious illness during their lifetime, the importance of financial resilience in such circumstances can’t be overstated.” With or without the protection of the GIS, Helen would urge anyone in a similar position to contact the Police Federation without delay.
She adds, “I have a week at the PTC planned during the autumn, which will be a welcome break from the often competing pressures of life and the legacy of such physically demanding treatment.”
Although it’s too late for Helen to join the GIS, she would urge anyone who isn’t yet a member to give it some serious consideration.
Helen is this service user’s real name; she is sharing her story to help others who may have doubts about joining the GIS.