From Girls Aloud: Check Your Girls

Mabel McLean
September 5, 2021
From Girls Aloud: Check Your Girls

Sarah Harding was always the Girls Aloud member who exuded fun and a vivaciousness that was unmissable and made you smile.

This embodiment of flamboyancy translated into her music.  I mean who could forget Hugh Grant sliding into our screens on his socks, while dancing to “Jump” (For My Love) in No #10, in what’s arguably the best RomCom ever made; Love Actually?  This past Sunday though, the joyful music was paused for Sarah and her family. Aged 39 Sarah Harding passed away after succumbing to her battle with breast cancer. I’m not gonna lie… It’s a hard one to take in, especially because of her youthful age! And, while we take in the headline, you can’t help but cast your mind back a mere 15 months, to August 2020, when Sarah first revealed her diagnosis to the world. And then jump to early 2021, when she announced the cancer had spread and that she’d been told she wouldn’t see Christmas again with her family.

This really struck a chord. You see we’re a UK firm and 75% of our office is women. So naturally,  Sarah’s passing has been a massive talking point.  We’ve all empathized with Sarah’s loved ones and have expressed how sad it is. Also, how terribly young she was and how much we loved her personality growing up.  The reality is that Sarah Harding’s passing reminded us that, as part of self-care, we should be checking ourselves regularly. The W.H.O. states that “Early diagnosis of cancer focuses on detecting symptomatic patients as early as possible so they have the best chance for successful treatment. When cancer care is delayed or inaccessible there is a lower chance of survival, greater problems associated with treatment and higher costs of care.”  

And if you’re reading this as a man please don’t forget, breast cancer also affects men, it is rare but it does occur.  For men, the most common symptom is a lump in the chest area. So you too should make sure you check yourselves.  Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK, with the World Cancer Research Fund estimating that 1 in 8 women will develop cancer at some stage in their lifetime. To put it into perspective if you go back to Christmas of 2003, when Hugh Grant “Jumped” into your hearts, there’s a high chance one of your eight friends that went with you to the Cinema is struggling with this condition. I mean we all know of someone within our social circles.  But, do we know the signs of possible breast cancer?

When caught early, breast cancer is treatable. Changes to look and feel for:
  • Check for lumps or swelling in the breast, upper chest and/or armpit.
  • Changes to the skin such as puckering, or dimpling.
  • Changes to the colour of the breast – it may look red or inflamed.
  • Changes to the nipple such as it becomes pulled in, has a rash or crusting.
  • Unusual liquid (discharge) from either nipple
  • Changes in the size or shape of your breast.

Part of that self-care should also be thinking about the financial repercussions if you are diagnosed.  There are great charities like Macmillan Cancer Support, Beatson Cancer Trust and more who are able to help.  If you seek financial support your Protection Advisor should have reviewed the benefits you get from your employer.  They should know how long your sick pay will last?  Is there a special dispensation with your employer that would allow for an extension of your sick pay?

Some companies offer the latter option in exceptional cases.  If you don’t know these things, then now is the time to find out. Speak to your HR contact and ask for copies of the policies you are covered by.  Bear in mind that such employee benefits can change as they’re a “nice thing to have” rather than legally required.

When you set up your Protection policies, your advisor should have asked the following:
  • How will your mortgage payments (and other bills) be paid if you’re unable to work
  • Who do you want to financially support in the unfortunate event of your passing?
  • How will your mortgage and other commitments be paid after your death?
  • Have you got a will in place?
  • Who are your Trustees?

These questions help your Advisor and you to plan what you need.  And, if your circumstances change, such as growing your family, or you have a larger mortgage then it’s time to get your Protection policies reviewed.  Most Protection Advisors will do this for free with no obligation to sign up.  Look I know we Brits don’t talk about death but, we need to be pragmatic.

In one of our previous blogs, Cameron and Mabel, talk candidly about what their Protection Policies are so they can bring to light what yours should encompass.  Our advisors often say that the cost of Protection is what puts clients off but, the reality is it’s not as expensive as you think.  Also, beware of the cheap insurance policies you see advertised on the telly.

They may not pay out as much as you think or pay out when you need them to. Always have a professional check the fine print!Sarah Harding’s passing is a timely reminder to hug your loved ones a bit tighter, check in on friends you haven’t heard from in a while, and check on yourself. Regularly! Do a check-up on your breasts and chest area, and if you do find something get yourself to a GP.

You can find more support about breast cancer via the following charities:

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