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Mary Hewko

Brampton, Ontario

Dear Richard and staff,

Please accept my most sincere gratitude in regards to making my number count and giving me the much needed validation to continue with my journey in overcoming this mysterious illness called fibromyalgia. You are truly the White Knight in shining armor, desperately needed to represent individuals who have these types of illnesses, and most certainly one of the many knights that I have needed to find hope where there was none.

In October of 2002, my whole world changed. I was in excruciating pain, exhausted and this side of brain dead (from too many drugs), the prognosis was not good as no one was able to determine what was wrong with me. As with many people with this illness, it is exceedingly difficult to treat because there are so many symptoms with no specific cause. What most people don’t understand is that in order to receive long term disability benefits, the requirement has traditionally been dependent on specific measurable cause and by following standard treatment plans.

In my situation, after decades of managing an assortment of chronic symptoms from pain, anxiety, sleep deprivation, depression and fatigue with traditional medications, at age 46 my body finally succumbed to not being able to get out of bed anymore. This status lasted for the better part of two years, although the insurance company did not see it as being a worthy claim and determined that I was well enough to return to work. If you are reading this, I am guessing that you or someone you know has encountered similar circumstances, probably having experienced the Independent Medical Examination (IME) that is required to continue receiving benefits and received your letter advising you that the results indicate that you are well enough to return to your previous employment.

Many reports and investigations have been presented publicly to indicate that insurance companies play the numbers game with our lives. The most poignant one that I am personally aware of is an investigation performed by W5 in April 2004 called “Risky Business”. Ironically, my termination of benefits was presented to me in May of the same year. I cannot describe the shock of this news considering that less than two weeks after seeing the mandatory insurance doctor (IME), my driver’s license was suspended due to severe medical impairment as reported to the Ministry of Transportation by one of my specialists. Please note that the insurance company had been provided with this same report.

Through the invaluable resources of the support group in my community, in June 2004 I contacted your office. I was relieved and grateful at how quickly your personal call came in to me, in less than 2 hours (impressive) and trusted everything would be OK. Upon reviewing my medical documents and most importantly your assurance that my claim was valid, this nightmare that could have crippled me more became one of the many blessings that have allowed me to continue to recover. Not only did you arrange for me to see the best of specialists which was at no cost to me, you only requested a small retainer (and I mean small in the lawyer world). I have never once regretted giving you my trust and will forever hold you in my heart of hearts.

I thank you that it was not acceptable to you that I be some faceless person who did not matter in the opinion of the insurance company. I am certain that without your support and professionalism that I may still be lying in my bed wishing I would just die so I would not be a burden any longer to my family or my community. Instead, in less than one and one half years my case has been settled and I can continue to rebuild my live without certain undue financial hardship and the full return of the earlier mentioned small retainer in pocket as well.

There are no words that can begin to express the sensation of having my dignity intact and the sense of worth that I feel because of your compassion and dedication to helping the little guy. It is with the utmost confidence that I class you and your firm within the realm of ordinary people doing extraordinary work; my gift back is that I will be dedicated to helping others by sharing my own experience at every opportunity that presents itself.

– Mary Hewko

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