Real Stories. Real People - Evelyn Wilfling

An unexpected trauma payout provided a much-needed reprieve for Evelyn and Eddie Wilfling after Evelyn’s breast cancer diagnosis.

Forty-six needles. Five malignant tumours. One mastectomy. Evelyn and Eddie Wilfling had no idea of the magnitude of what was ahead when Evelyn found a lump in her breast in September 2009.

"There was something else the Wilflings didn’t expect: a substantial trauma claim benefit from Zurich after claiming on a barely-remembered trauma policy."

Like many sufferers, 45-year-old Evelyn's breast cancer diagnosis came as a shock. "I was fit and well and had never had any health issues," she says. "I've checked my breasts every month for the last 20 years."

Finding the lump led to two mammograms, then a core biopsy, an ultrasound, an MRI, a lumpectomy, the removal of swollen lymph nodes, a mastectomy and then the diagnosis of a second area of invasive cancer. A suspected lung cancer was thankfully just that.

"It's so frightening in hospital," Evelyn says. "You’re in a state of shock but you have to listen and be proactive and keep asking questions."

Off work for five weeks, Evelyn relied heavily on the support of Eddie - her husband of 23 years - and family. "My husband was an angel and did everything around the home," she says. The final tally of cancerous lumps came to five; as the cancer hadn’t spread beyond the breast, Evelyn required no further treatment. 

The Wilflings took out life insurance and trauma cover when they bought their first home seven years ago although Evelyn admits she'd forgotten about it. In February, when she was recovering, they submitted a trauma claim and a few weeks later, received a very welcome surprise in their bank account.

Evelyn recalls: "It was a Monday morning and I looked at the account and there was all this money there. I thought the bank had made a mistake but then we realised it was from Zurich. We screamed, we cried, we were so happy."

Evelyn was covered by private health insurance but the couple still faced medical bills and out-of-pocket expenses. "It doesn’t change the situation but money does help a little bit," Eddie notes. "The most important thing for us was how easy it was to claim." The claim form was lodged on the 15th February 2010 and the payment in their account on 26th February 2010. There were no challenges.

It proves that trauma assessments and claim payments can be completed quickly if the reports from doctors and histopathology are made available at the time of claim.

Eddie now believes trauma cover is just as important - if not more so - than life insurance: "Life insurance is something you leave for your family and children. Trauma comes at the worst time but the right time."

Things have changed since the dark days of September. Evelyn and Eddie relocated to a new home on the Peninsula and Evelyn has returned to work part-time as a project administrator in Melbourne. "I’m fine but there are parts of me that are still a bit fragile," she admits. "I never thought about dying but negative thoughts do still run through your head. Kinesiology and hypnotherapy have helped a lot with that."

The experience has also changed the couple's relationship. "These days, we have a greater appreciation for the beautiful things around us: beach, sunshine, family friends and laughter," Eddie says.

Evelyn is pragmatic about her situation: "I was lucky. One woman gets diagnosed with breast cancer every 43 minutes and there are women who have both their breasts off as well as chemotherapy and radiation." The past months, however, have taught her two valuable lessons: "Don't hesitate to take up trauma cover. And ladies - check your breasts."