What I am about to share with you is a very sad story. It is very real and you definitely should read the whole thing, so you or someone you love or care about will not experience the same.

I have a friend named Cheryl. She owned a spa in Daytona Beach, called Day SPA at Pelican Bay.  Cheryl was in business for 18 years. She operated her spa successfully and it was one of the best day spas in Daytona.  Cheryl worked very hard. She rarely took time off and not had a vacation in years!  She actually worked in her business as an esthetician while managing her business.  Though I have known Cheryl for 13 years, the last couple of years we got closer. I would help her with her business and she would take care of my spa needs.  Just about every Wed, we would go out to dinner. We talked business and had fun together.  A couple of month ago, we were having dinner and Cheryl was telling that she’s been having back pain. Sometimes, the back pain was unbearable and she was concerned about it.  So I asked her if she has seen a doctor.  She told me,” No, I am trying to get medical insurance first.”

The first duck that was out of line.  I thought I knew Cheryl very well, but had no idea she had no medical insurance.  Frankly, I was shocked. Here is a very smart business owner with no medical insurance.  Do you have medical insurance?  If not, go get it now!   A week later, she saw a doctor to take some tests and x-rays. The news was not good.  They diagnosed Cheryl with bone cancer.  A week later, she fell in her house and was admitted to the intensive care unit where things went from bad to worse. Cheryl got pneumonia and had to be on a respirator for 3 weeks. Basically, she was in a coma. Then, the news got worse when the doctors notified us that the cancer had spread to her liver. 

The second duck that was out of line:  Regular checkups. Take care of yourself.  The truth was that Cheryl felt a lump in her breast for three years and never went to check it out. Cancer spread to her back and then to her liver.  Had she went to the doctor three years, she would not have been in this situation.

The third duck that was out of line:  Cheryl had no power of attorney or will in place.  The hospital was basically making all the decisions about her health without anyone’s approval.  To complicate things, Cheryl does not have many living relatives. Her only blood relative is an elderly uncle.  Because Cheryl did not designate anyone with the power of attorney, no one could write checks; so the uncle decided to close down her business!  What she has sacrificed for her whole life is now gone!  Her team took her information, her entire client base, and went to work for another spa in the area. 

The fourth duck that was out of line:  After three weeks in intensive care, Cheryl finally was off the respirator and able to talk. She was able to designate the power of attorney, but a little too late… Now her team is settled in the new spa. They all know how bad Cheryl’s health is and they are all looking out for themselves.   I was gone for most of this fiasco. First, to Vegas for a show, then to France.  It was very bad timing because my plan would have been to sell her business instead of just closing it down. You must have an exit plan in writing.  It is such a shame when you work so hard for years and in a matter of three weeks, everything is gone!  Now, the landlord has issued an eviction notice. She can’t even sell her equipment!  If you are a spa owner, I am urging you to have these crucial conversations with someone.   This has taught me a HUGE lesson. Not to assume my clients or friends have all their ducks in a row. So from now on, I am asking about their succession plan. And I want you to do the same!

After coming out of intensive care, the hospital moved Cheryl into a recovery room for one day and basically told her she had to leave.  She can’t walk or take care of herself.  Their answer was to go to Hospice. That’s where Cheryl is now, in Hospice waiting for a miracle… 

I still can’t believe how, basically in 5 weeks, someone can go from everything appearing great to dying and penniless.   She has no idea what has happened to her business. Now, she is behind on her home mortgage payment. With no savings left, she has nothing.  Please take some time this week to get a check-up and get your legal affairs in order, if they are not.   Also, keep Cheryl in your prayers and may God bless us all.

Thanks in advance for your prayers!