5 Things to Give a Friend With Cancer Upon hearing that a friend has been diagnosed with cancer, most of us jump into “helper” mode. Since we can’t actually fight the battle for our friend, we want to do the next best thing, which is to make his/her fight easier. I’ve had the unique opportunity to be on both sides of this type of situation as a cancer patient and a helper. It’s actually given me a great perspective because I know what was helpful to me, and those are the things I try to do for others. While there are numerous things you can do to help, below are some I suggest.
- An organizational calendar—If you are planning meals for your friend, it’s a great idea to give him/her a calendar detailing which days meals will be delivered. You can also include what the meals will be and who will be bringing them. This not only lets your friend know what to expect, but it will make writing thank you notes easier. CareCalendar.org lets people go online and indicate which needs they will be helping with such as meals, carpool, etc. Others can check the calendar to make sure they are not duplicating efforts.
- A countdown chart—When I was first diagnosed, I made a funny chart to put on the fridge. I had circles for every treatment, and a big smiley face after the last one. Each time I finished a treatment, I marked another circle off the chart. It may seem like a small thing, but being able to see my progress really helped. I’ve done the same thing for friends, and they felt the same way. You can get as creative or as simple as you want. The main thing is to see that progress is being made.
- Pictures of happy times—Fighting cancer can be draining and often depressing. If your friend is in the hospital, make a collage of happy pictures. This is a great reminder that life is good, and there are more happy times to look forward to.
- Financial assistance—Very few people will come right out and ask for monetary assistance. However, medical bills can add up quickly, even with insurance.Giveforward.com is a fabulous resource for providing help with doctor bills, hospital bills, and other expenses. It’s easy to set up, and friends can donate any amount they choose. The key with GiveForward is to get the word out. Use your imagination and create contests, use social media, or even start a phone tree. The last thing a cancer patient needs to worry about is the high cost of treatment. Give Forward helps alleviate that concern and lets patients use their energy to fight their illness.
- Time—Lots of people ask, “What can I do to help?” and then never call or follow up. If you truly want to help your friend, give your time. Be there if he/she wants to talk, cry, or scream. Offer to drive him/her to do errands. Help sort the laundry, clean the house, or any other everyday task. You don’t have to give expensive gifts…your time is invaluable.