When a person first get’s a cancer diagnosis, it can become so overwhelming and you just sometimes have no idea of how or who to ask for help or even what to ask for but the support is so needed.
On the 9th January 2014, I sat down next to my consultant after having so many tests and only to find out that I had a tumour in my chest and lumps in my neck that were cancer and had to start chemotherapy for stage 2 Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Over the months that followed I had so much support from a community filled with so much love including family & friends who really did step up and take care of me when I really needed it.
If you have a friend or family member with cancer you obviusoly want to help but don’t want to make the mistake of making a very vague offer like “Call me if you need me” Trust me they won’t. I remember I didn’t want to burden people anymore that I already have so felt like I couldn’t reach out all the time.
Make your friends life much easier by actaully anticipating what they may need wether that be physical or emotional support. I thought I’d put together a list of 20 ways you can make the day of someone with cancer.
- Send a quick text. Any kind of message wether that be a text, email, DM via Instagram just to say you’re thinking about them will always make them smile.
- Offer to go with them to chemo and keep them company or if you don’t have that much time on your hands even just a lift to the hospital would be amazing.
- Send a delivery. Any kind of delivery wether that be flowers, chocolates, a care package or even just a card with some words in saying your are thinking about them will always be a lovely gesture.
- Does your friend have a pet that needs walking? Offer to come over and walk them.
- Just listen. Sometimes all a cancer patient needs is an ear. Don’t give any advice, don’t try to cheer them up because they may just want to talk.
- Offer to visit but make sure they are feeling up for it first.
- Gift something. It doesn’t have to be a massive gesture just something small like a magazine or book that will keep them occupied while waiting for appointments.
- Understand that a cancer patient is likely too overwhelmed by so much and asked what they need all the time but take the initiative by offering specific things instead of saying “Let me know if there’s anything I can do for you?”
- Do something silly. Sometimes all you need is a laugh while going through all the harsh treatments so just sending a funny picture/meme is something that will cheer any cancer patient up.
- Why not donate money to a charity of their choice? It’s something so small that will mean a huge lot.
- Share their story. If they have written about their cancer diagnosis and want more people to be aware of the signs and symptoms then what not send them a quick message and ask if they are comfortable with you sharing.
- Gift them cosy items such as a throw/blanket! This was probably one of my most favourite gifts I was given and it was so good for taking to chemo.
- Get food delivered. Ask if they have a favourite takeaway and have it delivered. I remember McDonald’s was one of my very first meals after having chemo, it was a-m-a-z-i-n-g.
- Offer to take them out to see a movie or if they are too tired watch something on Netflix.
- Remind yourself. Have little reminder on your calendar to remind yourself to check in with a quick hello text.
- Send a text the next time you are at the pharmacy to see if they need anything picking up.
- Check in with their caregiver. My caregiver was my mom and she handled everything when I wasn’t feeling very well from replying to messages from friends to booking appointments, it can be very stressful for them so check in on them to see how they are doing.
- Do some errands for them as they might not feel like it and this can be one of those tasks that may take you 5 minutes or 50 but will make the life of the cancer patient so much easier and stress free.
- Respect their need for privacy. Sometimes all cancer patients need is space so don’t be too annoyed if they don’t respond to your message.
- Send them cute little quotes to remind them to keep fighting and not give up.