Our real life stories

Winston's story

Winston felt alone after finding out he had Leukaemia. When his boiler broke and he couldn’t afford to replace it, he was left for 9 months without heating and hot water. He didn’t know where to turn, until he found out about Ben...

“In April 2019, I went for an eye test and the optician said I had cholesterol around my eye so I should book a blood test. Then I saw my GP who told me I had a form of leukemia and needed to go to hospital. I was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia. I felt alone.

“I was in remission at the beginning of lockdown and my boiler packed up. I was furloughed from work and didn’t have any heating or hot water. The colder weather was setting in and I had no means of paying for the replacement boiler I needed, so I went 9 months without heating and hot water. I had almost given up. 

“The insurance from Scottish Power wouldn’t cover the cost of a new boiler and I spoke to a well-known cancer charity who were no help at all, which really surprised me. Another charity told me to contact Ben, as I worked in car windscreen manufacturing. 

“The first call to Ben gave me some confidence and then I was assigned a Case Manager who went down every possible route to help me. I was given information to look up and I was kept up to date with everything. I felt good and I can’t thank my Case Manager enough, she helped me emotionally as well. I  have had mental health issues in the past, but because of the help she gave me, I got the impression she would not give up on my support.

“Ben’s help meant the world to me and it was such a relief the first time I put the heating on in the house after getting the new boiler. The house had been cold for so long that it took ages to heat up.  

“But then, I had a flood in the house about a week before Christmas which my insurance covered, but the tradesman discovered there was also a gas leak and a pipe that needed to be redirected. I was scared as I didn’t have the money for this. I phoned my Case Manager and she was able to help me again. The water leak was sorted by the insurance company and Ben funded the repair to the gas pipe so I was able to have my heating and hot water back on.

“If it wasn’t for Ben, I really don’t know where I’d be. I know my health has suffered due to these problems I had as I was no longer in remission from the Leukaemia. I put this down to the stress and worry about the lack of heating and not being able to cook properly for myself. My Leukaemia was escalating. Even though I have tablets to help, I kept forgetting to take them as my life was in disarray.

“Life is a bit better now, I’m eating properly and I take my medication every day. I can manage a whole lot better now and I can smile again. I need to take this medication for the rest of my life as it’s a form of chemotherapy but the doctor said I should be able to live a pretty normal life on the medication, so I feel optimistic. Work has been good and I’m happy in myself.

“I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the help from Ben. When I first found out I had Leukaemia I was seeing someone, but I had more support from my Case Manager than the lady I was with at the time. I had felt like I was on my own out there, but after speaking to Ben I felt like I was getting the support I needed.

“I think I’m stronger now. Before, there was no light at the end of the tunnel and now there is light. There was so much going on. It is good to know that there are charities like Ben out there that do support people. I would call Ben again if I need to and I sing your praises!”

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