Natalie Stocker

Run up mountains or run up debt

Later this year Natalie Stocker is planning to smash the Queenstown half marathon. But without Southern Cross health insurance, she would have been facing a mountain of debt. At just 31 years of age, Natalie had unexpected health issues; she realised that we don’t really appreciate our good health...until we lose it.

Growing healthy crops. And employees.

Walking with Natalie through rows of thriving seedlings at the Seed Force agricultural fields near Lincoln, you get a sense that Seed Force does a good job of looking after its crops, and its employees. They pay for their staff to have Southern Cross health insurance, and it’s a much-appreciated employee benefit.
“I had been at Seed Force for about a year when I injured my hip. I stupidly put up with the pain for quite a while, but it was starting to really impact my life.”

Natalie is always on the go with an active job. “Fodder beet is a huge part of our business. Over the winter period it’s my job to harvest these plots, I really struggled with my hip injury to do that.”

The turning point

Outside of work, Natalie found running the family farm was hard work, and running training along a river bed even harder work. “During the Christchurch half marathon, at around the 15 or 17km mark, I started to feel the pain and I actually ended up walking. It was quite frustrating as I was still seemingly young but I felt quite old.”

Surgery on her schedule

Soon after that, Natalie went to the doctor, who referred her to a specialist. “They got me under the knife with the surgeon pretty quick.” Because ACC had declined payment for the operation, she was able to apply for cover from Southern Cross.

“There’s absolutely no way that I’d be able to pay for two $20,000 surgeries.  Southern Cross was really, really good because I was able to effectively avoid the queue. That meant I could get back to working full-time in my physical role and it wasn’t a limiting factor at all.”

Taking life back

“Post-surgery I’m back to a normal fitness regime. I’m setting myself some goals, one of which is the half marathon in Queenstown at the end of the year.”

And Natalie’s advice to other young people?  “When Seed Force initially offered it (health insurance) to me, I would have preferred to have the money. I thought, I've got a student loan to pay, I'm saving for a house. But actually, soon after that I really, really needed it.”
“You never really know what's around the corner. If you’re serious about your career, your lifestyle, you've got to plan for the unexpected. Even if it wasn't my work paying for it now, I would be getting medical insurance for myself.”

“I think it’s fair to say that you certainly don’t appreciate good health until you lose it.’