We sound like a broken record telling you how important family is, but you guys are very much part of the myFRP family and so we thought it was about time we introduced you to the head honcho!
Meet Bernerdine, or as we like to call her, Bee.
Bee lives on the East Coast of Canada. In short, she is Wonder Woman: a marvellous mother, a warm, loving wife, a brilliant businesswoman, a fabulous friend and a terrific teacher. So, what possibly inspired myFRP to come to fruition?
Back in April 2011, Bee’s family was struck with tragedy. Her husband had been suffering from back pain for the better part of two years, and with chiropractors, physiotherapists, and massage therapists offering no relief, he pushed to get more tests done. Typically, once he was finally referred for more testing, the waitlist was months long. Luckily at the time, Bee was studying at the University of Toronto and one of her fellow students worked in the image diagnostic department at a local hospital. The student told Bee to bring her husband in the following week.
After an agonising wait, the test results came back. The doctor called Bee’s husband to deliver some life-altering news. He told him he had cancer - no appointment, explanation, or further information. Thunderstruck, he immediately called Bee who was at work, and asked her to return home. Understandably upon her return, Bee was thrown into a state of shock, struggling to digest what her husband had told her. The next few days were spent side by side with many tears shed, grappling with the uncertainty of the diagnosis.
Both Bee and her husband were unaware of the type of cancer it was until they were referred to an oncologist, who after more tests then confirmed it was incurable multiple myeloma. Unsurprisingly, they felt their whole world crumbling around them. They agreed to withhold telling their three young children until they had some more information. They found that due to the evolution of science and ongoing research, the given timespan for multiple myeloma had progressed from 6 months to 3-5 years.
Eight months later in December 2011, Bee’s husband was admitted to Princess Margaret Hospital where he underwent his bone marrow transplant before being transferred to a local hospital closer to home. The Christmas holidays proved challenging as Bee’s husband was absent and she could no longer visit him due to catching a common cold along with his low immunity levels. This testing time alerted Bee exactly what her new reality could be. It made her wonder; how could she take care of her husband’s business or settle his finances if the worst were to happen? How could she finish her studies, work full time, single-handedly run their household and take care of their three children?
Then just two years later, a sudden death in the family occurred. Although the deceased family member had left passwords to his laptop and kept his affairs in order, he was responsible for all of his family’s finances and Bee saw first-hand the struggles and stresses of settling your spouse’s estate. She noted how difficult it is to figure out the necessary documentation and how time-consuming it is sifting through mounds of paperwork. Watching her family go through this devastating ordeal, it became clear to Bee just how impossible it is to grieve when you find yourself with so much responsibility.
This spurred her on in thinking that her family cannot be the only people in this position. After all, we are never taught these life skills: it is down to our initiative to research and investigate. More importantly, why is there no support or solution available to aid grieving families in these overwhelming and crushing times?
Bee then enrolled herself in extra courses and began gathering information and documenting it. She asked questions and learnt about her husband’s business accounts as well as who to contact when the inevitable happens. She instigated these conversations with her children, educating them on how they can get what is due to them when she is no longer here to guide them. She believes due to their heart-breaking experience they are more open to these discussions than most, as she appreciates humans often shy away from these delicate topics. Still, there comes a point in our lives when we must talk about it with our loved ones. Regardless of our wealth, health, or status, no one is exempt from the phenomenon – death is the only outcome.
Bee is super passionate about pioneering a more open dialogue when it comes to death, removing the stigma around these sensitive topics, and helping families receive what they are eligible for, as she says, “you have to fight for what is yours otherwise it will get lost. Companies do not come dangling a cheque in front of you”.
After finding countless people uninformed in this realm, Bee made it her mission to help individuals like you keep track of their assets, so they can be easily settled when the time comes. She hopes people will show ingenuity by getting their responsibilities in order sooner rather than later, declaring it imperative we look after not only ourselves long term, but our families too.
See, we often get caught up in the mundane realities life stows upon us that we forget about the important things. We take for granted the value of a homemaker and the business that is family. Because it is innately part of us, we minimise the value and effort that goes into it. Illness and diagnoses are very much a part of our reality, and with it only becoming even more confusing and complicated to settle our affairs, by being prepared we alleviate the burden of a never-ending paper trail for our loved ones.
Thankfully, 10 years on research and medication surrounding multiple myeloma have improved drastically. Bee’s husband continues to take one day at a time, taking oral chemotherapy and morphine for his consistent pain. He is visited regularly by his oncologist, checking blood work and levels of rogue cells. Bee says she is eternally grateful for her husband’s brilliant doctor and the Canadian healthcare system, but she knows the outcome could have been incredibly different. After learning some valuable lessons, she hopes to help people all over the world avoid the very issues she came across.
“With my own personal reckoning with death, I became overwhelmed not knowing the next steps to take. Through my moments of anguish, I came up with an idea. That very idea is what is now known as myFRP. It is what helped me pick up the pieces and move forward, and it is something that I would like to share. Something to soften the blow, eliminate anxiety and lessen the load. A place you can easily access all of your documents that you can click and view at your own convenience. Hopefully then, when you are faced with heartache, myFRP can help you and your loved ones move forward. Allowing you more time to build beautiful memories you can look back on and treasure; memories that won’t fade away with pain and sorrow,” Bee reveals. Didn’t we tell you she’s a diamond?
So, there you have it: a little insight from our side on why myFRP was created. Now the rest is down to you, but don't worry, we’re here to help every step of the way – that’s what family’s for, right? If you're wondering what your next steps are, we’ll give you a clue: that blue box in the top right.
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