At the company summer picnic, Lily, an administrative assistant with a small Ontario manufacturer, got a surprise. At her tenth anniversay she was presented with her favourite picnic food. Obese and diabetic, she enjoyed it anyway, happily sharing in the celebration. That’s when it all started.
By age 32, Baxter Kerr had become a sought-after trainer in financial services. A lifetime sufferer of stress, diagnosed at age 20 with an anxiety disorder, Baxter was now having panic attacks daily. He feared that he could not sustain the stress of his job. His was no longer a rewarding career.
Training young athletes eight hours a day, five days a week definitely encouraged 39-year-old Kaitlyn Blake, a former gymnast herself, to lead a healthy lifestyle. That is, until lingering pain from an injury caused her to develop an addiction to the powerful painkiller, OxyContin.
Independent agent Amir Khan sold a variety of insurance policies to businesses and professionals on behalf of insurance companies. When Amir found himself in need of insurance, you can imagine his disappointment when his own disability claim was denied.
Ethel & James Wrightman
Happily married couple, Ethel and James Wrightman, both 62, were thrilled when their children surprised them on their 40th wedding anniversary with tickets to the beautiful city of Mérida, Mexico. The Wrightmans hadn’t had a holiday in many years.
Annette Campbell, 52, had worked as a receptionist in a downtown Toronto high school for almost 27 years. Annette loved her job and had hoped to continue working at the high school until retirement, but unfortunately, pain caused by her rheumatoid arthritis had become progressively worse.
39-year-old truck driver, Charles Robinson, was preparing a meal in his kitchen one evening after work when he suddenly blacked out. He hit his head on the granite countertop before falling to the floor and came to almost an hour later. A few weeks after the accident, his seizures began.
Twenty-three years ago, Callum Quinn moved to Canada from Ireland as a young man in search of work. His search led him to Sudbury, Ontario, where he secured a job as a miner. It wasn´t his dream job and it wasn´t an easy job by any means, but it paid a good salary.
When Alexander Kim passed away at the age of 47 due to cancer, he left behind a wife and young daughter, but he didn’t leave them without financial protection. He purchased a term life insurance policy eight months before he was diagnosed with Stage IV esophageal cancer.
Living with borderline personality disorder (BPD) wasn’t something she openly discussed with others, but family, friends and colleagues always had the sense that Annie Martin wasn’t well. Annie was diagnosed with the disorder at age 18, after suffering from the symptoms her entire life.
Yuki and his wife, Angel, purchased life and critical illness insurance shortly after they decided to start a family. 16 years, thousands of premium dollars and four kids later, the Watanabe family was devastated when Yuki was diagnosed with a serious illness and—to add insult to injury—denied benefits by their insurance provider.
When severe back pain halted Samuel Rosenberg's 16-year nursing career, it left him with no other recourse than to apply for long-term disability benefits through his insurance plan. When his insurance company responded to his claim with a resounding "no," he contacted Share Lawyers for help.
Chloe Baros had worked with a district school board in the Greater Toronto Area for 23 years. She took great pride in her job as a Sign Language Interpretor and enjoyed helping students enhance their educational experience and improve communication skills. Shortly after turning 46-years-old, Chloe noticed that her eyesight wasn't as sharp as it used to be.
As a single father of three teenage girls, George was a hard-working entrepreneur who ran a successful automotive shop in Aurora, Ontario. Knowing his livelihood depended on his health, he had purchased a life insurance policy, along with an accidental death & dismemberment (AD&D) rider, when he and his late wife first started their family.
Anthony Caproni’s earliest memories involved spending time in his family’s barbershop. He then embarked on what would become a forty-year career as a barber. Anthony was in good health until his early fifties, when he began to experience concerning physical symptoms.
As a busy dance teacher, mother and wife, Jayne Williams had many responsibilities to fulfill on a daily basis. Maintaining good health and a balanced life were important to her, as was having a reliable financial protection plan in case she became ill.
Mia Wright was a successful employment recruiter and loving mother of two young boys. At 37-years-old, she was vibrant and in perfect health. Being a single mother had its challenges, but Mia was grateful to be divorced from her abusive ex-husband and to have a fresh start in life.
As a retired nurse, 60-year-old Ahmed Mehrani had often been witness to the emotional, physical and financial challenges faced by patients who had lost their independence. He did not want his wife, Betsy, and their children to struggle if he was ever in need.
Vera Karlova’s life-long depression came to a head when she graduated from her Masters Program and began a stressful career in Public Relations. When her depression began to affect her ability to work, she made the responsible choice to take sick leave to receive medical treatment.
54-year-old Jey Rupasinghe was an accomplished ophthalmologist, proud husband and father whose family meant everything to him. In order to protect his family financially, he purchased comprehensive health insurance that included a critical illness benefit in the amount of $250,000.
Andrew, a 58-year-old Operations Manager from Windsor, Ontario, was found deceased by his wife, Marie. Autopsy and toxicology reports concluded that the cause of death was a lethal combination of pain killers and anti-anxiety medications, which caused an unintentional overdose.
Ana knew that her decade-long journey fighting an unknown illness,and her eventual diagnosis with Lyme Disease, was only the prelude to an even bigger battle with her insurance company, she may have given up. Luckily, she persisted every day to find answers and get help.
38 year-old Gianna Colombo lived in her cozy home town of Lindsay, Ontario. Gianna was seen as a well-respected member of her community. Life was great, that is, until her father suddenly passed away followed by her mother six months later. Her life was turned upside-down.
Long-time florist Danielle Rivera was an artist. Danielle could craft beautiful flower arrangements for any special occasion. Everything was on track until Danielle began to experience widespread chronic pain that kept her from doing the things she loved.
Forty-three year old Ashley Strong was on top of the world. She had found her dream job in publishing, had an apartment in the city and an active lifestyle, Ashley was looking forward to the holiday season and a bright future.
Forty year old Jim Brooks was not a stranger to hard work. A foreman at a cement mill operation, he had been working in construction since he was eighteen. His wife was an elementary school teacher, working during the day while Jim worked afternoons and evenings.
Though it was rare, Amanda Reynolds had been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in her late twenties. The diagnosis alarmed Amanda, but she quickly got to work learning how to properly care for herself and manage the symptoms of her new condition.
After 27 years driving a delivery van, Tim thought he’d hate taking the same routes so often, and seeing the same customers everyday - but he didn’t. Tim liked his routines, and took comfort knowing what each day would bring. That is, until an accident on his icy front walk-way left Tim unable to work for many months.
Since Maria worked from home and only had contracted work, she decided to purchase her own private disability insurance policy through a broker to cover any issues she might have due to illness or injury. Aside from some previous sports-related injuries, Maria has never had a serious medical issue.
In her early twenties, Tamar had suffered from a serious eating disorder. Tamar would binge and purge at nearly all of her meals. After collapsing at a family event, she had been hospitalized and diagnosed with Bulimia Nervosa.
31-year-old Rodrigo Neves had always had steady work in construction. He had been fortunate enough to be hired by a large construction company that offered benefits for himself and his family. While safety on the job had always been a concern given the "high risk" nature of his work, after more than ten years "accident free", Rodrigo had felt like he had nothing to worry about.
45-year-old Tarinder Singh had been driving his own transport truck as an owner/operator for more than 10 years. Tarinder arranged to get his own disability insurance to cover him in the event that he could not work due to illness or injury. During one of Tarinder's deliveries, he landed awkwardly when getting out of the truck and suffered a significant injury to his left ankle.
Getting out of the shower, Amina slipped and fell on the wet floor, hitting her head. It hurt a little, but Amina got up and went to work anyway. Later that day, Amina was dizzy, light-headed and her vision began to blur. Amina called her husband and had him bring her to the ER. Here, the physician told her that she had experienced a Severe Concussion.
For the first time, Walter finally felt like he had his finances on track and was looking forward to spending some of his hard-earned savings on a trip to Europe with his wife and kids in just a few short months. Unfortunately, things don't always go as planned.
A few weeks after applying for benefits, Jae-eun received a letter from her insurance company. She was completely shocked to discover that her disability claim had been denied due to lack of medical evidence. Jae-eun decided it was time to find an experienced disability lawyer to assist her with her claim.
Even though both his family doctor and the specialist were supportive after being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, Wei’s application for Short Term Disability benefits was denied. He was told that diabetes was not recognized as a disability and that he did not meet the definition of disability as stated by the insurance company.
Vik was in the middle of watching a football game when he felt a sudden tightness in his chest, followed by intense chest pains and shortness of breath. Vik suffered a heart attack which resulted in his inability to return to work. His insurance company advised that Vik was not eligible for his Long Term Disability benefits because his records showed that he smoked marijuana regularly.
Francois is a 36-year-old Canadian Armed Forces member who returned to Canada a few years ago after completing two tours in Afghanistan. Like many members of the Canadian Armed Forces, Francois risked his life every day. As a result of his experiences, he was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, insomnia, anxiety and depression, and was unable to continue working.
Derrick’s issues began when he was 44, following an unexpected altercation with an unruly commuter on the SkyTrain. After suffering from panic attacks, he received a diagnosis of PTSD, only to later to find himself denied disability benefits even though he had a medical diagnosis.
By the time he was 42, Connor had learned to appreciate his job as a warehouse worker in Hamilton. His world started to unravel when he developed a serious allergy to one of the cleaning chemicals used in the building.
As a 34-year old Collections Specialist in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Evan spent most of his day on the phone with people in tight financial circumstances. Of course, the regular talks with financially strained account holders still took a toll. Some of their stress inevitably carried over into his own life, but Evan had always been able to brush it off once he left the office.
Charlie had been forced to stop working as the front desk concierge at a condo building in downtown Calgary, and his condition was yet to improve more than a year after filing a long term disability claim. His doctors had diagnosed him with arthritis – their expertise had allowed him to get his claim approved – but so far they hadn’t found a way to reduce his symptoms.
As a child, Chris always wanted to help people. So it was only natural that, as an adult, he’d become a personal support worker (PSW). Sometimes, he’d notice some back pain from having to lift residents throughout the day. Chris knew the risks and always took precautions but he also understood that all it takes is one bad twist to throw out your back.
As a mother of two teenagers and a receptionist for a large dental office in Vancouver, Leona was no stranger to stress. At 46 years old she felt like she finally had a handle on life’s stress, despite it never slowing down. No matter what, she could handle anything that was thrown her way. That was until the headaches started.
The Unpredictable Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease Leads to a Claim Denial For Everett, stomach pain was nothing new. He was first diagnosed with Crohn’s disease when he was 14. By the time he was 39, he had been through several surgeries and countless doctor’s appointments.
Sophie, 43, is a senior investigator at a research institute. She loves her job, as it challenges her on a daily basis to think critically. An avid reader, fan of word puzzles and math problems, her mind is her livelihood as well as her pride and joy. That’s why it was so heartbreaking when she hit her head.
To his friends and family, Omar was always known as content, somewhat introverted, and unassuming. At 41 years old, he was a business analyst who always showed up to work on time, and put in a solid effort. He lived in a nice apartment with his dog, enjoyed following local sports teams, and spent time with his loved ones on the weekends. What those around him didn’t see was that inside Omar was suffering.
Sonny was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when he was just 14 years old. He spent his whole life being careful, a necessity given concerns around the long-term ramifications of the disease. Despite his best efforts, by the age of 42, he started to develop diabetic nephropathy, also known as kidney disease.
Lorraine had lived with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) for most of her life. She appreciated that her job helped her spend more time outside, active, and on her feet. The increase in physical activity truly helped her cope with her SAD, and made life infinitely easier. The condition still persisted, but she felt in control of it.
Linda had grown up a child of the late80s. While she’d watch her mother get ready to go out to parties, she’d admire the perfumes she’d lavish on herself. As she grew up, her infatuation with perfume continued to grow. All her life, Linda had been prone to migraines. She could never seem to predict what would bring them on.
Jane, aged 27, knew that sex was a major part of the lives of most adults. But Jane could never relate to that coming of age experience. There was always distance, as if she had been kicked out of some secret club even though everyone else had been given a free membership.
Paul De Luca
Paul was a Share Lawyers client who struggled with opioid addiction for a number of years. It’s estimated that roughly 6 million people in Canada suffer from chronic pain, a condition that is often treated with prescription opioids.
Our client Ginette had been struggling with postpartum depression. She was 37 years old and had recently had her first child. Soon after giving birth, she began feeling detached and found it hard to be present with her child. She confided in her mother, who brushed it off, telling Ginette that she had experienced the “baby blues” and had gotten over it. She reminded Ginette that this was supposed to be the happiest time in her life.
All too often when we think of disability we have a static image in our minds of someone with an assistive device like a cane or a wheelchair. However there are many unseen disabilities and illnesses that can have all kinds of effects and consequences in an individual’s life and which create barriers in one’s ability to function as an able-bodied person would.
About two years ago, Faith came down with a really nasty flu. Even when she got better and returned to work, something still felt different. She was always tired and even though she prioritized getting a lot of sleep - up to 9 hours a night - her sleep was restless and she would wake up feeling exhausted and totally drained.
Thava worked as a labourer at a manufacturing plant in Scarborough, Ontario for over 20 years. Nearing his mid-forties, he considered himself to be relatively healthy - however when he started experiencing chronic chest pain and indigestion, he went to his GP to get checked out.
Cassandra had always been a very active person, having played varsity volleyball in university. Cassandra’s team spirit extended into her work and social life, and she was always easy to get along with and generally very cheerful. By the time she was in her mid-30s, Cassandra had worked her way up to management at a major bank in Kingston. She led an active lifestyle, playing sports evenings and weekends.
Terry, aged 41, suffers from Crohn’s disease. Although he he was able to work for many years, his condition worsened and he couldn’t handle his position while trying to manage his disease anymore. After his insurance claim was denied, he came to Share Lawyers for help.
A native to Calgary, Heather worked as a customer relations advisor for a major energy company and loved the interactions with people that her job provides. Five years ago, her doctor told her she had degenerative disc disease, but she didn’t let that get her down. She was only 40 years old and she knew that if she took care of herself, she would be able to manage her pain.
Robert always thought he was a lucky person. He married his high school sweetheart, and had three beautiful children. He worked for over 20 years as an actuary for a large company, and was happy with his life on the east coast. He and his wife Deb were always outdoorsy and they enjoyed many different hiking, fishing, and canoe trips as a family.
Millions of people worldwide experience unexplained pain. When managing the physical and emotional effects, focusing on insurance claims can be an enormous challenge. This was the case for Jonathan, 53 years old, who worked as a flight attendant for over 13 years. He enjoyed his job and the meaningful connections he made with the passengers he assisted.
People suffering from Fibromyalgia experience debilitating pain that prevents them from performing even the simplest task. Since every day life becomes a constant struggle, victims will often rely on insurance benefits as they learn to manage life with a chronic illness.
Lester, 31 years old, grew up suffering from ADD and cluster migraines. His symptoms were manageable throughout childhood and even adolescence, however they got more difficult as he aged.
Cindy has had Type 1 Diabetes since she was a child, but her illness has always been well under control. Just six months ago, when Cindy turned 40, she was hired for a new position. She was excited for the opportunity and anxious to begin her new job. Cindy did not inform her employers about her illness as it had never been a problem for her in the workplace. Soon after starting her new job, however, Cindy was diagnosed with a severe depressive disorder.
Alessandro is a 41 year old tailor who worked at his family’s business - a high-end suit shop - ever since he was a teenager. As soon as he graduated high school, he began to work full-time at the shop.
Alicia had just turned 49 and was living alone for the first time. When her only child went away to university, Alicia moved to a small 2 bedroom house in a nice neighbourhood with high hopes for the next chapter in her life.
Joel is a 41-year-old former warehouse manager and part-time DJ. For years Joel burned the candle at both ends, working hard on weekdays and DJing regularly at weddings and parties on the weekends. After pulling a number of late nights, Joel was so tired that he slipped in the shower and hit his head. Luckily for Joel, his employer let him take a month off to recuperate. After taking some time to rest, Joel returned to work. Three short months later, Joel had a seizure while working late. His doctor ordered an MRI and an EEG but both examinations came back negative.
Nadira is a 40-year-old mother of two, currently managing a beachfront restaurant in cottage country. After getting pregnant with her third child, Nadira planned to get by on both her husband’s’ salary and the maternity benefits she would be receiving through the Ontario government’s maternity program. She was set to receive these benefits for twelve months.
Jason is a 49 year old sous chef who has worked hard at a local 4-star restaurant for over 10 years, gradually rising through the ranks. The restaurant’s executive chef is planning to retire in the next year. When his boss retires, Jason has been informed that he will take his place as executive chef of the restaurant - a goal he’s worked towards his entire career.
41-year-old Jade was a nurse in the emergency department of a major hospital in North York. Things at work were stressful - the hours were irregular and she was constantly on her feet. Jade lived alone and was often too exhausted to cook for herself when she was done a shift at the hospital. She relied on take-out and frozen dinners for most meals.
Ariane is a single mom of two, and she has always been fully responsible for taking care of her kids. As her household relies on one income, she takes her job as a government vaccine coordinator very seriously. She also takes pride in the position, and likes helping people stay safe and healthy.
Diana Sutter was a hard-working woman who loved her job. Having worked with Children’s Mental Health Ontario for over twelve years, Diana had dealt with many different people and situations. Not much could upset her anymore. She loved her co-workers and enjoyed going to work every day.
Susan, a 54 year old legal assistant and mother of three adult children, arrived home from work one evening to receive a call telling her that her only daughter was being rushed into emergency surgery that would likely amputate both legs. Her daughter had presented at hospital malnourished and infected with flesh-eating disease caused by her illicit injection drug use. Dropping everything, Susan took the next flight to the West Coast to be with her daughter and to see to her care.
For many years, Rebecca had liked her job as an insolvency consultant, but the combination of gaining new and bigger responsibilities in the workplace, and an increasingly busy family life, started to cause Rebecca to experience panic attacks at work. The emotional and mental stress of consulting with clients who were under great stress and sadness, as well as dealing with a lot of harassing phone calls from creditors and collection agencies, made it difficult for Rebecca to handle the increased workload and day to day family life. Although Rebecca asked for support from her employers, her stress was not taken seriously.
Tanya had come a long way in her life. She had lost her husband, raised their five children on her own and was climbing the ladder at work. For a long time, Tanya felt great about her experience at work; they gave her many opportunities and responsibilities. In fact, many people at work saw Tanya as an inspiration, and went out of their way to celebrate her successes.
Angela was a mess emotionally and physically. The church, for whom she served as minister, turned its back on her when she needed it most. Angela was at the stage of burnt out. Her husband, who was ill, was frustrated because she spent more time at work than she spent with him.
At age 48, Lynda Morton thought that life was unfolding as it should. She had a happy marriage and two grown children. Her work as an assistant manager in a retail store was rewarding enough that she had stayed with the company for fifteen years. In a few years, she could look forward to retirement. Then illness overtook her.
Faced with stress at work and numerous personal problems, Nelson was having trouble coping. Initially his employer had been understanding and under the Group Disability benefits he had at work, he applied for short-term disability...
Scott was a top performing salesperson for a large national manufacturing company. His sales region required a lot of driving and he spent most of his time in his car.
Eric Cullin was a successful owner of 5 Tim Horton Donut Franchises. These thriving locations kept him very busy and provided for him and his family. Several years before his accountant had suggested that he should really consider buying a disability insurance policy to replace his income in the event of unexpected illness.
At age 45, Ellen Sycamore loved her job as an Administrative Assistant in a large hi tech company. There was always a new, exciting project that her team was involved with as her company was on the frontier of developments in new wireless technology.
Dr. Denis Montrose
At age 52, Dr. Denis Montrose had a thriving dental practice. He had noticed some mild tremors at age 50 and was diagnosed with mild Parkinson's Disease a few months later. Such a devastating diagnosis caused Dr. Montrose to worry about his future health and livelihood, but he considered himself lucky because he had purchased the best private disability policy available on the marketplace when his kids entered school twenty years before.
Dr. Margarite Patel
Margarite Patel had achieved all of her goals. At 35 she had established a successful family medicine practice, owned her own home, and she had recently started dating a very nice man. Everything was coming together nicely.