A father of four, with two sets of twins, tragically lost his wife and the mother of his children after she was diagnosed with a type of brain tumour so rare the BC Cancer Agency had never before treated it.
But for the North Vancouver family, the situation has gone from absolutely devastating to even more so, if they thought that was possible.
Todd Croft has found out his wife’s life insurance will not pay out a penny.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty right now,” he said. “It’s only been a few weeks, but of course the bills don’t stop coming in, and everyone needs pay, I’ve been off work myself for three months. There’s a lot of uncertainty.”
35-year-old Chelsea Steyns passed away recently and although she did have a life insurance policy, because the couple was busy moving house and dealing with an at-risk pregnancy with their second set of twins, they did not realize her life insurance was not paid one month. The withdrawal normally came out of her account, but something ‘glitched’ in the system at the bank and it wasn’t paid. Five months later, Chelsea was diagnosed with the brain tumour. Follwing that news, she learned shortly after making the call to the insurance company, that her policy was null and void.
The company says they sent a letter about the situation, but the couple never received it.
“It was devastating for her,” said Todd. “She felt like she let the family down, it’s just a weird situation.”
“It was a massive blow.”
Now Todd has four children, ages five and 17 months, and no money left.
“Where are we going to live, when am I going to be able to return back to work?” he said.
“Being a single dad, just like any single parent, there’s those stresses, you worry about your future, and if you’re going to be able to provide for your kids and what they need.”
When Chelsea fell ill, the family and their friends held numerous fundraisers for them and raised a lot of money. But that is all gone.
“I’ve extended everything I have,” said Todd, “and the family’s extended everything they have and the fundraising money was used, completely, for healthcare.”
“The savior in this was my medical package through work.”
When asked about Chelsea, Todd can barely speak through the tears. “We’ll miss her forever,” he said. “We will, we’ll miss Chelsea forever. There’s no replacing her.”
Going forward, Todd is not sure what is going to happen, but he does not think they will be able to stay in their home.
“I think we need to, part of kind of moving forward is, we need to downsize, look at all expenses in our life and see if we can trim things and see what budget we can run on,” he said.
“There’s going to be a few tough decisions to make.”
He said it helps to know there are so many people in the community who support them and who did so much for them when Chelsea fell ill.
“I tell my kids every night that dad is not leaving,” said Todd.
He said they need to move forward, but not forget.
“We can all get blindsided in life from many different things,” he said. “But my message, and this is why I’m really here, I want to let all you parents, young and old out there, to make sure that you have things in order. Review your insurance policies, make sure your loans are life insured, check your benefit packages, know that you’re protected if anything was to happen to you. Please protect your family.”
“What just happened to us, is exactly what can happen to anybody.”
A trust fund has been set up to help the family.
– With files from Brian Coxford