Not Enough Time

Not Enough Time

Forrest Wold-McGimsey and his three brothers grew up on a small “ma and pa” farm in Colorado, surrounded by animals, nature and the love of their parents, Sarah and Brian.

It was an idyllic upbringing until the fateful day when the family learned that Sarah had breast cancer. Forrest was just 10 at the time. She fought the disease bravely for more than four years, before it claimed her life.

Forrest and his family were devastated. Their grief, however, was compounded by the fact that Sarah didn’t have any life insurance. “Things became really difficult for us financially,” says Forrest. “We immediately had to move out of our home. My dad had to increase his hours at work and my brothers and I all had to get jobs.” They would often go days, even weeks, between seeing each other, given that everyone was working long hours or going to school.

Brian says that they’d always intended to get life insurance for Sarah. “But it’s one of those things you tend to put off thinking you have time,” he adds. “Without life insurance it was extremely difficult after Sarah died. It would have provided the financial support that I needed at the time.”

And while Brian has increased his own life insurance coverage to make sure the same mistake wouldn’t happen again, Forrest points out that “we learned a very valuable lesson about the importance of life insurance, but we paid a very dear price for it.”

Forrest continues to work toward a bright future—one he knows his mother would be proud of. He’s working full time at a local greenhouse so he can pursue his dream of going to college to get a horticulture degree

You can help students like Forrest make their dream of a college education come true by donating to the nonprofit Life Lessons Scholarship fund. Donate here.

When Life Hands You Lemons …

When Life Hands You Lemons …

Hannah was just 5 when she and her mom, Laura, got to tag along on her father’s business trip. Etched in her memory is the fun afternoon they had while they were waiting in the hotel for her father to return. “My mom was so full of life and dancing around,” says Hannah. “It was a great day.”

Just a few years later, when Hannah turned 10, her mother passed away after a long illness. The joy left with her.

Laura didn’t have life insurance, and that left Hannah’s father, Christopher, scrambling to find a way to pay for funeral costs, meet everyday expenses and the added cost of after-school care. Grief compounded Hannah’s situation, and she sought peer counseling, which she says “gave me hope when I didn’t have any.”

A few months before her mom’s death, her father changed jobs in order to travel less and be home for Hannah. Then the economic downturn swept his job away and their financial difficulties deepened. Her father took on side jobs while looking for work, and Hannah babysat and later got a retail job to bring in money. Eventually, they were forced to sell the home that Hannah had grown up in.

Turning the corner

As college approached, Hannah relied on advice her mother had given her long ago, “Be prepared to make lemonade out of life’s lemons.” Through hard work and scholarships, Hannah is now at college studying in a program that specializes in bereavement therapy. Her goal is to help other children who have lost a parent navigate the grieving process.

In addition, both she and her dad have life insurance, knowing firsthand what not having it means. “No one can put a value on a mother, but if my parents’ financial plans had included the key ingredient of life insurance, our financial situation and my academic path would have been much more secure.”

You can help students like Hannah make their dream of a college education come true by donating to the nonprofit Life Lessons Scholarship fund. Donate here.

A Hard Road

A Hard Road

When Melina learned her mother, Romina, had terminal cancer, she put college on hold to care for her. As bills mounted, they lost their house to foreclosure. Then, after her mother died and left no life insurance, Melina struggled to support herself and go to college full time. Through the Life Lessons Scholarship Program Melina is now able to achieve her dream of a college education as a full time student.

You can help students like Melina make their dream of a college education come true by donating to the nonprofit Life Lessons Scholarship fund. Donate here.

A Mother’s Death Brings on Struggle

A Mother’s Death Brings on Struggle

Mother’s Day for single mom Roseann LaCombe meant camping with her three daughters on the beach near their home. During last year’s trip, Roseann complained of mild leg pain. Later, she couldn’t bear weight on the leg and went to the hospital, where doctors kept her for observation. The next morning her eldest daughter, Brittney, then 20, received a call informing her that her mother had died of a pulmonary embolism.

Without life insurance, the girls’ financial struggle started immediately. Roseann had been unemployed at the time of her death, and there was only $300 in her bank account. Brittney’s part-time job was no match for the bills.

A week after Roseann died, shut-off notices arrived for the utilities, and the bank called every day looking for payment on the mortgage for their three-bedroom house. By the end of the month the girls, with help from a charity, moved to a small apartment. To make the rent and take care of her sisters, Brittney works full time. “If my mom had had life insurance, my life would be completely different,” says Brittney. “We would have been able to stay in our house and pay the bills.”

Despite her struggles, Brittney is determined to look toward the future. With the help of financial aid, she attends college in the evening and is working on a social-work degree. “I’m going to be the first one in my family to graduate college. I always wanted to make my mom proud,” says Brittney.

You can help students like Brittney make their dream of a college education come true by donating to the nonprofit Life Lessons Scholarship fund. Donate here.

The Day the Music Ended

The Day the Music Ended

Music filled the LaBarge household. Roger would choose from his vast collection of “vinyl” and play songs from the ’60s and ’70s, creating an ongoing soundtrack for life with his family—wife, Janet, and sons, Shane and Brett.

His family reveled in his music and the relaxed vibe that Roger, a photographer by profession, brought to family life in the suburbs of Pittsburgh. All that ended, however, when Roger died of a heart attack brought on by undiagnosed heart disease at age 56.

A family that had once enjoyed a comfortable middleclass life was suddenly faced with mounting financial worries. Calls of sympathy from family and friends were replaced by calls from the mortgage lender, credit agencies and utility companies.

Sadly, Roger died with no life insurance. That meant Janet, who was out on permanent disability at the time, had to struggle to make ends meet for herself and Brett, who was in junior high. Shane, who had just started college, was forced to rethink his plans. He worked an internship and a part-time job at a retail store so he continue to afford his studies.

Challenges continue

In the two years since Roger died, the family has managed to keep the home they lived in, but continue to be challenged by their financial obligations.

Shane is determined to finish college and to move on to law school. He’s also passionate about sharing what happened to his family. His advice to other families who are unsure about needing life insurance: “We were just like you. This happens to people like you every day—just as it did for us. You don’t want your family to have to live with the consequences of not getting life insurance.”

You can help students like Shane make their dream of a college education come true by donating to the nonprofit Life Lessons Scholarship fund. Donate here.

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