MPA’s research analyst, Mike Stevenson has been in the financial services all his life. Many years ago, Mike worked for Aviva as a Business Development Manager and helped develop business opportunities with MPA’s now Managing Director, Phil McGovern. The pair got on well, but lost contact when Mike moved to another business.

Almost a decade and half later the duo were re-introduced through a mutual acquaintance and financial adviser at MPA who mentioned that the MPA’s business was rapidly expanding and needed some additional help with paraplanning work.

Three years ago, Mike had an interview with Phil (largely centred around chatting about golf and the ‘old times’) and met the team. He joined MPA on a part time basis of three days per week and soon went up to four as a research analyst, carrying out investment research and providing support with paraplanning, becoming an integral part of the MPA team.

Less than 18 months into the role, Mike developed something on his heel and thought it was a troublesome verruca, but saw a dermatologist in June 2020 to double check. In July he was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma and a biopsy confirmed skin cancer.

Scans at the nuclear medicine department revealed that the cancer had travelled to this lymph nodes in his groin. Mike underwent two operations, in August and September, to remove all 10 lymph nodes, as four of them were cancerous. At the same time a skin graft was required on his heel to repair it.

In December of last year, Mike was well enough to undergo the start of his Immunotherapy treatment, but before it commenced a further scan revealed that the cancer had spread to a nearby lymph node in his pelvis. It was decided not to operate to remove this, but commence the treatment. His surgeon gave him a 50:50 chance of living for five years, but the relatively new Immunotherapy treatment offered hope.

Mike’s treatment was initially four sets of IV drugs every three weeks, using two different drugs; one to try to stop the cancer attaching to the white cells, thus ‘cloaking themselves’ and making them invisible to his white cells, and the other one to enhance cancer fighting ability of the white cells. Treatment was expected to take 9-12 weeks, but he was with the hospital for treatment for more than five months. Mike’s immune system went into overdrive and attacked parts of his body that it shouldn’t and added further complications, affecting his Adrenal, Thyroid and Saliva glands which has caused ongoing issues with his metabolism.

Throughout all this, Mike has remained positive and is very matter of fact about the situation he finds himself in and has continued to work when he has been able. He attributes the support from his partner Ali and the team at MPA for helping him to get through a very challenging time.

Mike Stevenson explains: “I’m lucky really, I have everything I need – my partner, my family and golf keeps me going. I have now healed enough for me to be able to play 18 holes!

“I am fortunate to have had the care I have received and access to care through my partner Ali’s BUPA scheme. I am quite positive, practical and don’t dwell on things, but this has also been helped by the support given to me by the MPA team.

“Even though the company has no enhanced sick policy, I have been paid a full salary throughout the whole period via a combination of sick pay and furlough. Rather than statutory sick pay of four weeks, I have been given full pay and even when I was on furlough for a longer period, MPA topped up the payments to full pay.”

Mike has now returned to work four days per week, split between the office and working from home, but he can’t thank the MPA team enough for how understanding and supportive they have been throughout.

He adds: “Phil and Annemarie have been fantastic. They have let me gauge when I feel fit and well and let me listen to my body. Phil told me he didn’t want me to work if I wasn’t feeling up to it.”

“Having support from work and not having to rely on statutory sickness benefit has taken the pressure off. Being financially supported and not under pressure to work has been a huge help. I’ve known Phil a long time and we have always got on well, but for this I can’t thank him enough. He is a great bloke to work for, always fair and that is reflected in how he treats his team and his clients.”

For more information about the MPA team visit our About Us section.