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Gilly & Jonathan: Medical conditions don’t have to stop you from travelling

It goes without saying that having a medical condition, or a combination of different conditions, can be stressful. What can make it even harder is when they make it more difficult to enjoy one of our best loved times – our holidays.

This is the situation Gilly and Jonathon found themselves facing in 2016.

They were preparing for a holiday– travelling with their daughter’s family to visit friends and family in the USA.

All was well until the family tried to take out travel insurance. They had an existing policy through their bank, but unfortunately this was not suitable due to their pre-existing medical conditions.

Gilly had carried out a lot of research online and soon realised that they would need specialist travel insurance to give them the cover they would need.

Jonathan, as well as having a history of heart attacks, has the blood conditions autoimmune haemolytic anaemia (AIHA) and immune thrombocytopaenic purpura.

Autoimmune hemolytic anemia (or autoimmune haemolytic anaemia; AIHA) is when the affected person’s blood has an insufficient number of oxygen-carrying red blood cells due to them being targeted by  their own antibodies.

Immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) is a clinical syndrome which causes a tendency to bleed, propensity to bruising or blood to leak from capillaries into skin and mucous membranes. This occurs due to a decreased number of circulating platelets.

While incurable, these conditions are manageable with a weekly injection and regular blood monitoring. In fact, Jonathan’s AIHA had been in remission for three years.

A firm believer in insurance – Gilly “wouldn’t dream of going without” because of the potential risks and costs they would incur if anything were to happen – she began to phone specialist travel insurance providers.

This would become a frustrating and anxious process. Each company she contacted would take her through a time-consuming series of medical questions, only to be told ‘No’ by every insurer.

The couple began to fear that they would not be able to find cover. Would they have to give up on travel for good?

Thankfully not.

Following further research on the internet, Gilly found Free Spirit. She spoke to a specialist who guided her through the questions sensitively and offered her a single trip policy to cover their USA trip – at an affordable price.

Relieved, the couple were now able to look forward to their trip with the confidence that they were fully covered.

And what a trip it was!

Los AngelesDuring their time in the USA, Gilly and Jonathan spent time with friends and family, visited Disneyland, Los Angeles and took a week’s drive along the coastal route to San Francisco stopping at several locations along the way. They even spent a few days in the incredible landscape (and heat) of Death Valley. All this they could enjoy with complete peace of mind.

Gilly said: “it was a blessing to find Free Spirit who would insure [Jonathan] and we were so relieved as it meant we could go on our trip, travel and see our family in California, we did the form filling by phone that time and the staff member was so helpful.”

Since their trip, they have recommended Free Spirit to friends and nurses who they know through Jonathan’s treatment.

Gilly and Jonathan have since travelled on other holidays abroad and have taken out a Free Spirit policy each time.

Have you taken back the freedom to travel despite having medical condition(s)? Are you happy to share your experience?

Send us an email or call us on 0800 170 7704 as we’d love to hear about it.

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