Early last year Dr Smith, who was then married and had two young children, suffered a series of setbacks which turned his and his family’s life upside down. First of all he was treated for early stage liver cancer which fortunately was found to be operable. However, he suffered severely from the after-effects of the treatment and had to take considerable time off work, eventually leading to him losing his job. This meant the family had no income and were struggling to keep on top of mounting debts. His wife had recently been made redundant and she was finding it very hard to come to terms with this and to find new employment. Dr Smith had just managed to recover enough to return to work himself when the family suffered a further blow: his wife was struck down with a debilitating stroke. Although she managed to recover after several months, she has not been able to find employment since that time.
Dr Smith returned to work for a short period but found it increasingly difficult to cope both mentally and physically with the aftermath of his own illness and looking after his wife and their two children. The situation adversely affected his daughter who started experiencing periods of depression and performed badly at school. Finally, he came to the conclusion that he would be unable to continue working as a dentist and has not practised since. The couple’s debts eventually led to them having to declare bankruptcy and to sell their family home. During this process his wife left him and their children and has not contributed to their support since.
Gradually with financial help from the Ben Fund, Dr Smith was able to get back some sort of normality. The Fund helped him with a regular monthly grant towards living expenses and contributed to the costs of moving house. He was also given some extra support during the summer holidays for the children and help with fuel bills in the winter. Dr Smith is now starting to feel much more positive about his life. He has begun working part-time as a support teacher in a local school and is considering the possibility of training to become a mentor and counsellor.
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Registered charity no. 208146