In sickness and in health – Lee’s story

This is my story

I still deal with that bank today simply for the fact that they looked after me. If they hadn’t done that I would have said: yup, I’m out and just walked away and gone somewhere else to go bank.

 When Lee became sick with cancer, it strained not only on his personal life but also the company he was running.   

“We had a new young child, I had cancer, I had blood clot disorders, a whole range of medical issues, I was still in and out of hospital. 

“Unfortunately, after I had been running my business for 5 years and we were finally starting to get somewhere, this hit me. 

Not only was my physical ability being lost but my income, my business, my focus was also being lost. My financial independence was being destroyed at the same time.” 

He had to close his business to take up another job to pay the bills.  

I was still struggling every week to make certain payments that were required. 

“The three creditors [banks] that you guys looked after for me, all were easy to deal with on their own, but I find it easy to deal with creditors if you are upfront with them initially. Don’t make stories up and just say: this is all I’ve got; this is all I can do. And the creditors are more likely to help you.  

“One of them did and put a lifeline out to me and told me about Way Forward. 

They said I would sign a couple of bits of paper, and then ‘you won’t hear from us anymore’ and that was pretty much my experience. 

I never had anyone treat me any differently or make me feel like a problem or an issue to them, I found most of the credit teams from these creditors to be very understanding of my situation. 

 Way Forward totally got it. And there was no pressure from any of them to do anything. The process was easy and slimline. I had no issues.  

The process was calming, and the panic and stress from talking to the creditors was taken off my shouldersfrom having to deal with the creditors every couple of weeks basically to let them know where I’m at what I’m doing how I’m trying to fix it. 

Lee and his family are still customers of the same bank, today.  

I still deal with that bank today simply for the fact that they looked after me. If they hadn’t done that I would have said: yup, I’m out and just walked away and gone somewhere else to go bank. 

Once Lee was able to access Way Forward’s service, it also took a little stress off his parents and family.  

“I had been riding that roller coaster for about two nearly three years before I found out I had cancer. It had taken a big toll on me emotionally mentally and physically. It was very hard.  

We are very fortunate because my parents, and my partner’s parents, have helped me a lot in different ways. If it hadn’t been for that supportive family support, it certainly would be a lot harder.  

My parents were starting to retire, so the last thing I want to do is break into their nest egg and the same as my partner’s parents. They were getting ready to retire, too, so the last thing I want to be doing was getting into their finances for our situation. 

Lee credits a supportive partner and her understanding to managing through the situation. 

It comes down to having an open conversation with my partner and saying, Hey, this is my debt, and I don’t know where I’m going with this, I’m in trouble or I don’t know what to do.  


Struggling to pay for the essentials such as food and rent and want to know more about your options? Our emergency funding page lists some of the available free emergency services and funding if you live in Australia and find yourself in financial difficulty.


By Rachel Ryan

Rachel is a policy and communications specialist with over a decade of experience working in government, education and not-for-profit organisations. She is grateful for the opportunity to work alongside Way Forward’s clients to assist them in sharing their story on their terms, in a way that is empowering and uplifting.