20 April 2022

My Life Now - meet Risk and Compliance graduate Luke

It’s been 18 years since the Trust first set sail – what are the young people who have been on trips up to now? Our 'My Life Now' series shows a brighter future after cancer is a reality. The Trust gave Luke the space to open up about his experience without fear of judgement.

Luke Coffey helming with a big smile on his faceName: Luke Coffey

Age: 27

Diagnosis/year: Papillary thyroid cancer (2018) and Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (2019).

When did you first sail with the Trust? 2019

What you do now? I’m a Risk and Compliance graduate, currently working in the Kidnap and Ransom team at a speciality insurer.

Explain what that means? I am on the Risk and Compliance graduate scheme at Hiscox insurance company and have been in my role for a year now. I spend three days a week with the Risk Actuaries, helping them to prepare their annual validation report which essentially is a process to ensure we have enough money to cover claims if certain scenarios were to occur - this technical aspect has been both challenging and insightful. The remaining two days are spent with the Risk Managers. Here I consider how risk such as geopolitical instability feed into our key risks.

Why did you do want to do this?

My work experience before joining the firm was very broad and non-specific having worked for an NGO in rural Zambia, I was a PA to a Duchess and then started a graduate scheme as a management consultant. After my diagnosis I knew that I wanted a more balanced job that didn’t require late nights or was very stressful. I took a demotion and pay cut when I moved into this role as I thought it would be interesting and keep me engaged, but also offered me a good work life balance and stress-free working environment.

Luke Coffey and Lydia Knight sat at the front of Solent HeroWhat's the coolest thing you've done lately?

I made my own pasta – from scratch!

Why did you need the Trust's support in recovery?

About a year after treatment, I really started struggling with my mental health. I always felt anxious worrying about the tiniest little itch or bump, as someone who’s never really experienced those feelings of anxiety before it was really disarming. For a while it was the first thing I would think about in the morning and the last thing I would think about at night.

The Trust definitely helped me because when I came on my first trip, I was pretty fresh out of treatment and I hadn’t really spoken about it, even to some of my family members I hadn’t told. My trip was the first time I had properly spoken about it, and it was nice. It wasn’t even like massive deep conversations just like mentioning it. It made me realise it’s okay to show vulnerability and to admit that you struggled with some aspects of it.

What part has the Trust played in you doing what you are now?

I wouldn’t say it has played a specific role in my chosen career path, but it helped me feel comfortable about talking about it. When I was diagnosed I was very worried about being seen as one dimensional and chose to tell only my immediate family and a few close friends. My trip was the first time I openly discussed how I was feeling, when you get past that you don’t fear it anymore.

What's your top tip for someone interested in working in your industry?

Establish your boundaries at the beginning and stick to them. For me these involve not having emails on my phone and never working past 6pm.