For 14 years, Unum customer Annette Shively had her dream job. As the admissions coordinator for an osteopathic medical school in Florida, she not only welcomed new medical students into the program, but she also saw them graduate and be called doctors for the first time.
One of her main roles was the coordination of the spring commencement ceremony and it was there, on June 4, 2017, that her world forever changed. As she was rehearsing with the class valedictorian, she felt a “pop” in her head and her eyes were unable to focus.
Not to panic the student or her colleagues, Annette remained calm, finished rehearsals, and walked to a nearby room and asked a co-worker to bring in a doctor. A quick assessment indicated she was likely having a stroke. Annette was rushed to the hospital where a CT scan confirmed that initial diagnosis.
She was hemorrhaging from her brain stem in a difficult area to reach surgically. The doctors weren’t hopeful that she would survive, so her family was called. So was a priest.
Annette tearfully said her goodbyes to her family and friends. Miraculously, she was able to pull through. The bleeding stopped and her vitals stabilized. But her eyesight and cognitive thinking had been seriously affected by the hemorrhagic stroke. She knew it would be a long road ahead.
When someone experiences a major medical event like Annette did, the last thing they should be focused on are finances. Fortunately, Annette had Unum on her side. A short- and long-term disability customer, she didn’t have to worry about income replacement while out of work.
“We need my income, so I had so much anxiety about losing my job and my salary,” Annette said. “If I didn’t have Unum, we would have definitely lost our home.”
A Unum benefits specialist was assigned to Annette’s case and has helped her through the filing process. From short-term disability, to long-term disability and even social security disability insurance, Unum was there every step of the way.
“Unum walked me through every single step during a time when things were really scary for me,” Annette said. “The documentation process was really stressful, but Unum got the paperwork for me – they did it all. Every time I had a question, they had an answer.”
Annette has been working with Unum disability benefits specialist Stephanie Haynes, who she praises for patience, professionalism and caring.
“Hearing these stories from our customers and knowing that we were there for them during a rough part of their lives is the reason I love my job,” said Stephanie.
Now more than a year after her stroke, Annette continues to make progress in her recovery, but is still unable to work. Her cognitive abilities and eyesight are slowly improving, thanks to the help of her doctors and rehab specialists.
In the meantime, Unum will continue to be there for her in providing financial support while she’s out of work.
“It takes a community of support - my husband has been my rock, my children have rallied around me and my colleagues have been supportive,” Annette said. “And Unum. Unum is now part of my community.”