A lucky escape
In 1980, Mark moved to Rotorua to take up a position as a hydraulics engineer. Once there, he instantly fell in love with his new home. The abundance of open hunting areas and off-road tracks presented plenty of opportunities to pursue his passion for the outdoors.
“Every road in and out of Rotorua had a motorcycle track and I was right in to motocross. I couldn’t believe my luck. It was a great place. Everything, the hunting, fishing, right on your doorstep.”
On the 27th of February 1999, Mark rode his motorbike into town to purchase a Lotto ticket. Little did he know how unlucky that decision would prove to be. Upon returning home Mark was hit by an out of control driver and left fighting for his life. “Bang! It was just like a grenade going off. A massive explosion,” he describes. Mark’s right leg was so badly broken that it was nearly torn from his body. In fact, the sum of his injuries was so severe that his wife Anita was told he may not survive.
The long road to recovery
Mark spent months in hospital before he was able to return home. But even then he faced a long and painful recovery. "I was going into town for a Lotto ticket and it was three and a half months before I got home again,” he explains. “It’s very hard to get your head around just how much adjustment you have to do to recover.”
The simplest of tasks became impossible for Mark. He lost all independence. “I was basically bed-ridden for quite some time. Unable to get showered, dressed, or feed myself. Even getting in and out of bed, I was unable to do all of those things.” As stressful as it was for Mark, it wasn’t easy on his family either. Anita was now the sole carer for both Mark and their children.
"You may think you can’t afford to have Income Protection. But you actually can’t afford not to have it.”
As the main income earner, the loss of Mark’s income would have been overwhelming. Anita’s background in insurance proved to be invaluable however. Several years earlier, she had learned of Asteron Life’s Income Protection insurance, and the pair had made the decision to protect Mark’s income. That decision enabled Anita to stay home and take care of the family. ACC supported Mark after his accident and Asteron Life’s Income Protection topped up his income, back to what he would have been earning if he were still at work.
In 2006 Mark was blindsided by another health issue. He was diagnosed with kidney failure, the same illness that had claimed his father. Still recovering from his accident, Mark now needed to learn home dialysis as well. “Without that Income Protection insurance we definitely would have been in desperate straits.” All of life’s basic necessities hung in the balance. “There were times where I seriously don’t think we could have put food on the table,” Anita adds.
Mark and Anita were grateful they made the decision to protect Mark’s income “Once we realised Asteron Life were going to step in and assist us with this, it just took the load off,” Anita says. “You may think that you can’t afford to have Income Protection. But you actually can’t afford not to have it,” Mark adds. Asteron Life’s Income Protection gave Mark the freedom to concentrate on his recovery and get on with celebrating life. “Celebrating life to me is just making the most of things, looking for opportunities and staying positive. You’ve got to be optimistic something good will happen,” he says. Staying true to his words, Mark is back on his motorbike. “I can still go out on the motorcycle. I’ve just modified it to suit my damaged leg and modified the handlebars just so it’s a bit easier for me to ride it.”
Asteron Life would like to sincerely thank Mark and his family for their generosity in allowing us to publish his story.
Mark is a passionate family man and motorcycle enthusiast. But a motor vehicle accident nearly cost him everything.
Asteron Life’s Income Protection insurance helped him get back to doing the things he loves.