A Timely Change of Heart

A Timely Change of Heart

Fast forward to today—“The years have brought an increased resonance of how vital and important it truly was to have the freedom and time to make decisions and how grateful I am to have had those options,” says Dean Hoskins. Hattie is now married and in a job she loves. Dorsey is also married with two young girls and is busy running a business.
Updated in May 2023

Dorsey Hoskins’ father, Bryan, felt a tingling in his arm. The diagnosis—an inoperable brain tumor. Six months later, he died at the age of 33, leaving his wife to raise Dorsey and her sister Hattie.

Fortunately, Bryan bought life insurance when he married, and again when his daughters were born. Thanks to Bryan’s foresight, Dorsey, Hattie and their mom are taken care of.

A Little-Known Financial Lifesaver

A Little-Known Financial Lifesaver

A lot can happen in a


Eleven years ago, Mike Sizemore was living two of his dreams. Ever the athlete, he was training to participate in his first marathon, and he was enjoying a new position at a nonprofit organization. After years of study and earning his master’s degree in public administration, he felt prepared to start his life’s mission of helping others.
Suddenly, both of those dreams came crashing down as he crossed the street one night, and a drunk driver hit him after running a red light.
Life Happens first met with Mike in 2015, three years after the accident. We recently had the opportunity to follow up on his story.

Disability insurance is so important because we really don’t know what’s going to happen next—in the next moment, day or week.”

Mike was out with friends in Washington, D.C. As they were walking across the street, a drunk driver ran a red light at high speed and hit him.

His injuries were so severe, including major head trauma, that doctors were unsure if he would survive. He was placed in an induced coma and his parents rushed to his side.

There were countless surgeries to treat his head injuries, repair his shattered legs and address the multitude of other injuries he suffered.

Through strength, determination and a lot of rehabilitation, Mike improved immensely, including being able to walk and talk again. 

I was so badly injured—fractured skull, separated shoulder, shattered legs—that doctors weren’t sure I’d live. The accident changed my whole outlook on life.”


Mike had disability insurance when he needed it most.

Disability insurance has given Mike his financial freedom. The policy he had at the time of his accident a decade ago continues to help him today.

It replaced a significant portion of his income in those early years when he couldn’t work at all, helping him pay bills, rent and afford to keep his truck.

And because of his traumatic brain injury, he’s still not able to work full-time. His disability insurance supplements his income now, allowing Mike to do all the things that would have been out of reach without it.

My fiancée and I just bought a house, and I’ve been able to give my son the childhood he deserves. Disability insurance has been a lifesaver.”

“Don’t think that it can’t happen to you. It comes down to the simple fact that if you work and rely on your income, you need disability insurance.

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Making the Transition

Making the Transition

No one expects to meet the love of their life at age 11. But that’s how it unfolded for Jeanie Kazemier. Tom was her brother’s best friend growing up, but it wasn’t until college that things turned serious.

When they got married in their late 20s, they knew the fit was right. “Opposites attract,” says Jeanie. “Tom helped me become more focused and thoughtful. I helped him become more spontaneous and enjoy life.”

True to his role, Tom got Jeanie involved in their finances, which included getting life insurance. He wanted to ensure Jeanie and their children, Kennedy and Aiden, would always be OK financially.

Unimaginable Loss

And true to her role, Jeanie encouraged Tom to go on his yearly snowmobiling trip with friends, despite a full plate at work. He called her from that trip, saying he was having the time of his life. Tragically, that was the last conversation they had. He was hit by another snowmobiler, who was driving drunk, and was killed instantly.

The world collapsed for Jeanie and the kids. Grief overwhelmed them and Jeanie admits she felt lost. Thankfully, her insurance professional, Barb Pietrangelo, reassured her that Tom’s life insurance would help them make the immediate transition, paying for the funeral and ongoing bills and expenses.

Barb also helped put the life insurance proceeds to work for the long-term. It paid for mental health counseling so the family could cope with their grief. It covered private health insurance Jeanie now needed. And it set them up for the future so they could continue living in their home, and plan for college, retirement and even family vacations.

“Tom’s motto was: Be prepared. You don’t know what life will hand you,” says Jeanie. “Our situation now would be totally different if he hadn’t had life insurance. It’s a godsend that Tom had that forethought and planned for our future.”

It’s a True Financial Lifeline

It’s a True Financial Lifeline

Diligent, hardworking, civic-minded, a family man. These are all terms that Sara Mathews Dixon uses to describe her husband, Jay. And it was those qualities that made a great husband and father, and a dedicated police officer.

Like many young families, Sara and Jay found themselves juggling kids, school, work schedules, sports, meals and family time with sons Lorenzo, Anthony and Nico. But the couple relished their family life.

And it was Jay’s dedication to his family that also made life insurance a priority. “The kids were the most important thing in his life,” says Sara, and so they both purchased coverage in their late 20s, which included term life insurance, as well as permanent policies both for themselves and their children. They eventually converted a portion of their term insurance to whole life with their insurance professional, Richard Terhune.

A Turn of Fate

Jay was a lifelong athlete and spent time playing sports with his sons. But his active lifestyle couldn’t prevent a serious illness from damaging his heart, which eventually lead to a heart transplant.

After the operation, life returned to a semblance of normality for the Dixons. Then came the afternoon of January 4. The couple was at home with the boys when Jay appeared to have a seizure. Paramedics were unable to revive him, and he died at age 40. “My world exploded,” says Sara. “It’s been traumatic, especially for the boys, who are now 12, 10 and 5.”

But amidst all this, one thing she hasn’t had to worry about is money. “Jay’s life insurance has been a true financial lifeline,” she says. “It means we don’t have to move in with my mother or make any major changes right now after all that’s happened to us.”

Her advice to other parents is to consider life insurance early on, before health issues make it hard or impossible to get. “We don’t control the universe,” she says, “and you don’t know what’s going to happen down the line. Life insurance can keep you and your children in your own world.”

In Good Times and Bad

In Good Times and Bad

Cory and Asia Schroeder are the most unlikely couple and, yet, the most likely couple. They met under the saddest of circumstances, but now married 13 years, they have used their relationship to transform the unimaginable into the possible.

You see, Asia was the widow of Peter, a Marine that was in the same unit as Cory. He was part of an elite bomb squad and died in the line of duty while stationed in Iraq. Asia was just 23 and their son, Jacob, 3.

Grief gripped the small family, but thankfully financial concerns weren’t an issue. Just before deploying, Peter purchased an individual life insurance policy that essentially doubled the coverage he had through the military. His wife and son were at the center of his life, and he wanted to make sure they wouldn’t suffer financially if he didn’t return.

The Future Unfolds

“When Peter died, it felt like I was watching a movie— it’s something that happened to other people, not me,” says Asia. “His life insurance was instant assurance that everything was going to be OK financially.”

Cory offered solace and help to Asia and Jacob as they looked toward the future. Friendship turned to love and a new family unit was born when Cory and Asia married. But the power of life insurance didn’t end there. The couple purchased policies, including permanent life insurance, because they had seen what it could do firsthand.

As they continued to build their dreams together, Cory and Asia tapped the cash value of their permanent life insurance policies to use as a down payment on a new commercial property.* They wanted to expand their 24-7 gym and transform it into the prosperous business they knew it could be. “It has allowed us to follow our passion and do something we enjoy,” says Cory.

The Schroeders know firsthand the power of life insurance. It has been there to support their life, their dreams and their future through good times and bad.

*Withdrawing or borrowing funds from your policy will reduce its cash value and death benefit if not repaid, and may result in a tax liability if the policy terminates before the death of the insured.

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