When I found out that I was going to require knee surgery for an injury I had received while doing a show the year before I was in a panic. It was a last minute, last resort decision which did not leave me any time to set myself up financially for the recovery. When I was told that as a best case scenario I would be immobile for the better part of six weeks I had no idea how I was going to pay my bills and afford medication during that period.
I have worked in the film industry for over thirty years and while there were some slow periods, there was always work coming, just around the corner. It never occurred to me that I might need assistance. After a long, slow period in Calgary, where it seemed like nothing was shooting, I realized I was running through my savings and my mortgage was due. I went to my union to ask for advice and they sent me to the Actors’ Fund. I had never heard of the Fund, and was doubtful that they would help somebody who wasn’t an actor, but I was wrong! They helped me pay my mortgage that month, something I couldn’t have done without them. That little bit of help was all I needed. Shooting started up again, and I got back to work. It was a small amount of help that I needed, but it made a big difference. I hate to think what would have happened if the Actors’ Fund hadn’t been there.
Carmen Grant, Actor
My partner and I had been doing well until an injury left him unable to work for the better part of a year. I decided to look for stable work outside of theatre while he recovered, but it barely paid the bills and we quickly found ourselves falling behind. I was borrowing from friends, family and my credit cards just to stay afloat. Finally it was too much and I realized I couldn’t do it on my own.