Gayle Nakamura’s dream of traveling to Ireland and Scotland was dashed as she endured breast cancer treatment and she lost nearly $6,500 because she purchased travel insurance one day after a routine mammogram.

“It was a dream come true, [or] so we thought,” said Nakamura. 

The 75-year-old paid a deposit for an 18-day tour in January and was brought in for follow-ups to an irregular mammogram in March.

On April 1 she had a biopsy and weeks later, she had a mastectomy and began chemotherapy treatment. 

Because she paid the remainder of the travel fare and the $561 cancellation insurance policy through Kaleidoscope Travel and Cruise in Strathmore one day after her mammogram, she was denied a refund.

“They were very sorry about my situation but they did not really give me any indication that …” said Nakamura, her voice trailing off.

“It was just denied.”

Insurance company Manulife sent a statement to CTV News.

It reads, “We are very sorry to hear of an individual’s illness. We can confirm, as indicated in our policies and as an industry standard, that travel insurance is designed to cover losses arising from sudden and unforeseeable circumstances only.

“We strive to do everything within our power to satisfy our customers and we would welcome the opportunity to speak with this customer directly and discuss her situation further. We take the responsibility of protecting the privacy of our customers very seriously and cannot discuss specific details of any individual.”

Additionally, Manulife’s policy does not cover medical conditions the person is aware of on or before the date coverage is purchased.

Travel insurance covers expenses for a medical condition that is stable within three months of the insurance purchase date, so long as there are no new symptoms, no test findings and/or prescribed or recommended testing.

Nakamura only knew her test results were cancerous after she purchased the remainder of her travel fare and the cancellation insurance.  

Still, her dreams of travel remain.

“I would like to go for sure again but I certainly will not do it without some kind of reimbursement for sure.”

She has finished chemotherapy and says she is feeling much better, however radiation treatments will begin after Thanksgiving.