As is the case for many people throughout the world, 2020 has been a tough year for Cole Stewart. When the pandemic hit earlier this year, the restaurant where he works as a chef shut down, meaning Cole, like thousands of other Americans, suddenly found himself out of work. A few months later, he suffered another blow when he tragically lost his father to suicide.
This summer, the 31-year-old husband and father to a five-year-old daughter, began experiencing pain in his lower jaw, which he assumed was a toothache. When the pain worsened, and began interfering with his ability to perform day-to-day activities, he scheduled an appointment to see the dentist.
He was stunned when x-rays revealed that the source of his pain wasn’t a toothache, but a mass in his lower mandible. A mass that needed to be removed immediately and sent for biopsy to determine if it was cancerous.
Testing and treatment comes with a hefty price tag
Cole did not have medical insurance and the cost of the procedure to remove and biopsy the mass was more than he could afford without a source of income. The dentist required a 50% deposit to remove the mass, which Cole was unable to pay. Thinking about the worst-case scenario, that the mass might be cancerous and would require invasive treatment and extensive (and expensive) reconstructive surgery to rebuild his jaw, only added to his stress and worry.
Fortunately, Cole’s mother, Kristi Beauchamp, works as the Office Manager at Poolman in Texas, which is a FirstService subsidiary. Kristi, who contributes to the FirstService Relief Fund through automatic payroll deductions, immediately applied for a grant.
The FirstService Relief Fund provides monetary support
Because the FirstService Relief Fund provides monetary grants to those suffering personal financial hardship, which includes hardships brought on by the serious illnesses of immediate family members, Kristi’s application was approved. The entire process was very quick and she received funds right away, allowing Cole to schedule his procedure. Doctors removed a coin sized mass, which, to everyone’s relief, was benign. Cole’s life quickly returned to normal, and within six weeks of his initial appointment, he was happy to be back to work, and even happier to enjoy time with his family without worrying about the future.
“The FirstService Relief Fund provided a shining light for my family during a very dark time. I was amazed by how easy the process was to apply, and how quickly my application was approved,” said Kristi. “It almost sounds too good to be true. I encourage anyone who is facing a personal financial hardship to apply for a grant. This is an amazing program and I’m proud to work for a company that cares so deeply for its team members.”Cole’s story is a poignant reminder that any of our lives can change in the blink of an eye. We encourage all of our people to familiarize themselves with the FirstService Relief Fund in the event they, or someone they work with, might benefit from a grant.