About 12 years ago, I very uncharacteristically applied for three Aflac insurance policies that were made available through my company, Baptist Children’s Homes of NC. I took the recommendation of the Aflac insurance agent when I asked what he felt I should apply for. He suggested the Aflac accident, cancer and hospital intensive care insurance policies. I truly struggled with the amount of the premiums as I was making so little money at the time. But for some reason I couldn’t understand, I felt I needed to make this sacrifice. Cancer had never been an issue in my family and I wasn’t even aware of the health issues in my husband’s family. So I applied for all three policies and, during tough financial times, I would second-guess my decision in doing so.
11 years later in May 2013, my extraordinarily healthy husband was diagnosed with AML, Acute Myeloid Leukemia and was admitted that same day to Northside Hospital’s Bone Marrow Transplant Groups Intensive Care unit. In a matter of hours, our world turned upside-down and, at this point, it did not even occur to me that we had Aflac policies. He would remain in the hospital for almost 3-1/2 weeks before coming home. Then, the long trips back and forth began, and a stem cell transplant was scheduled. By this time, we realized we had the Aflac policies and had submitted our first claim. Within TWO weeks, we received our first benefit check! (I get tears in my eyes just recalling what it was like when we saw the amount.)
I doubt that anything has ever compared to the surprise, shock and myriad of emotions we felt when opening that envelope. We laughed and cried. A lot. We continued to file claims and received a number of checks ALL within two weeks of filing. The people on the phone were so nice when I initially called to ask some questions. One kind lady even said she would pray for us! For some reason, I would be strong and ‘ok’ until someone was kind and then I’d start to cry!
As a result of the transplant, it was necessary to be at the clinic daily by 7 a.m. and remain there until 2 or 3 in the afternoon for 30 days. We lived about 55 miles away and in Atlanta traffic at any hour that was a long, stressful, unpredictable trip. It didn’t take long for us to utilize the first of the money by staying at a hotel near the hospital for those 30 days. That was such a gift to be 10 minutes away instead of an hour-and-a-half. We actually enjoyed coming home to our little apartment after getting up so early after restless nights and spending the bulk of the day at the clinic. It was a luxury in the midst of a very scary and uncertain time not to have to deal with traffic. I wrote on our CaringBridge site that fighting Atlanta traffic should not be harder than fighting cancer! And for that month of August 2013, traffic was not an issue. Aflac helped make that possible and, by doing so, greatly enhanced our lives and peace of mind.
There are not many things in my life I am sure of, but I am sure that God was making provisions for us the day I applied for those policies. He already knew what we did not. My husband and I joke that we work for Aflac Marketing since we tell everyone we know about them and encourage many of our friends and family to apply to become a part of the Aflac family. They have become some of our favorite folks. Thank you for what you do. You do it so well and make a beautiful difference in people’s lives.
Kirk and Kathy Smith