It’s often said there’s power in positive thinking.
Wellington real estate agent Therese believes it. She’s definitely a glass half full person and it’s this positivity she believes helped her face one of the biggest challenges of her life – beating breast cancer.
A successful agent for many years, Therese had always taken the necessary steps to look after her health, including regular mammograms.
It was only two months after a routine mammogram that she decided to visit her GP to check some breast pain she was having. Referral to a specialist revealed the worst – she had breast cancer.
Surgery to have the lump removed followed, together with chemotherapy and radiation treatments. The constant nausea and sickness that accompanied her treatment left Therese unable to work full time and for the best part of the following year, her working hours were greatly reduced.
When she was first diagnosed, thoughts of how she would be financially affected by the cancer were far from her mind, she says.
“There’s so much going on you don’t immediately think about the financial side of things. But when I did, I realised the trauma cover I’d had in place for many years would kick in – it removed any financial pressures at a very stressful time.”
Fortunately when Therese had embarked on her real estate career she had taken out a trauma type cover, known then as serious care, which delivers a one-off lump sum payment for the diagnosis of one of a number of critical illnesses and conditions.
All those years ago she never believed she would need to claim, but knew it provided a safety net in case she couldn’t work – and that’s exactly what it did.
“Looking back the whole claim process was incredibly easy. It’s such an anxious time that even the smallest things can rock you. But the paperwork was an easy process and the money was in my account soon after.”
Shortly before Therese’s diagnosis, her business partner was considering letting her own trauma insurance policy go.
“But when she saw what I went through and how the financial support could help, she decided to not only keep her cover in place, but increase the amount,” says Therese.
And after her experience Therese is never slow to encourage others to make sure they’re protected.
“I see lots of new real estate agents coming in at the start of their careers. I’m always quick to recommend they take up trauma insurance - ‘Don’t not get it!’ I always tell them.
“None of us think we’ll get sick. But don’t presume you’ll always be well. Life doesn’t always go perfectly. If you’re self-employed or the sole earner in your family, you especially need to make sure you protect your future.”
With her cancer ordeal behind her, Therese is back enjoying her real estate career with her eyes on the future and living every day to the fullest.
But Therese’s colleagues – old and new – still hear her words of wisdom on a regular basis.
“Whatever you do, make sure you’ve protected yourself in case you’re faced with not being able to work - your income is your greatest asset.”