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Life Can Change in an Instant – John’s Story

It’s very difficult to plan for the unexpected. Just ask John.

At the age of 58, John was working full time as a head mechanic. One day he had a terrible accident in his home. He was catastrophically injured and unable to call for help. After two and a half days, he was finally discovered and rushed to the hospital where John learned that the accident had caused significant permanent injuries paralyzing him from the neck down.

John went through many painful surgeries and he spent several months in the hospital recovering. He was unable to return to work or live independently at home, as he did not have family close by to help. John required supportive housing and significant nursing assistance.

John had no idea what he was going to do. He felt lost. When it came time for John to leave the hospital, he needed help, including someone to assist with his finances.

He was referred to the Voluntary Trusteeship Program at Family Services Windsor-Essex (FSWE), a United Way supported initiative. After a review of his situation, a Trustee helped him secure a source of income, deal with tax related concerns, and most importantly, find suitable housing.

Starting with the first meeting, FSWE and John have worked to secure income from the Ontario Disability Support Program, and connect him with the right supports to meet his medical needs. With the help of the Trustee, he was able to secure an apartment within an Assisted Living Southwestern Ontario residence.

John’s source of income and all of his bills come to FSWE to be handled by his Trustee who also worked with John to create a monthly budget that works for him. He is continuing with his recovery process and is actually ahead of schedule.


“Every day is a little bit better,” John says.

John regularly expresses how thankful he is for the existence of the Voluntary Trusteeship Program. He feels that his Trustee is his ‘guardian angel’. “Everything they said they are supposed to do, they are doing,” says John. “I’m happy.”

The Family Services of Windsor-Essex Voluntary Trusteeship program is part of United Way’s Counselling and Supports strategy. Trustees help service users manage their financial future and improve financial stability in times of personal hardship. 99% of participants report that the program has been important to helping work through challenges in life. Thanks to United Way’s generous donors, last year 529 people participated in the program.


Click Voluntary Trusteeship to learn more about this program. 

Need to talk? We can Help. Call us 1-888-933-1831.

Categories: Support