"I was senior chef at one of Canberra's best restaurants, working hard but getting ahead.
Then I was diagnosed with a genetic condition that dealt me one horrible symptom after another.
The good news is I survived. The bad news is I was finished as a chef. I can’t stand or walk for long. My 25-year career was over. I was in debt with no hope and no idea where to turn.
Then I rang my union, United Voice. I thought the union might be a shoulder to lean on; they turned out to be a rock. They quickly spotted I was a member of the industry super fund HOST plus. That meant I was automatically insured by the fund against total and permanent disability.
It took some persistence from United Voice, but in October I received a disability benefit of $174,000. It means everything to me. It means hope. It means my wife and I can start a new life.
So thank you from the bottom of my heart. Without my union I would be stuffed."