Do you know someone diagnosed with cancer or other life-altering illness? Here are ten thoughtful ways you can help.
1. Be a listener. It can be harder than it sounds, but so meaningful to someone struggling with a serious illness or cancer.
2. Provide a meal, have a carry-out meal delivered or even send gift cards to them for their favorite restaurants. It’s a good idea to inquire about dietary restrictions and allergies. Are there extra family members staying with them? Do they have freezer room for a made- ahead meal?
3. Send a card, note, text or email.
Remember to consider doing this on several occasions. The influx of mail tapers off with time, but your friend is still struggling daily. Don’t let your fear of not knowing exactly what to say keep you from reaching out. Simple words from the heart can heal.
4. If you are a close family member or friend, run interference! You are of great help if you can screen calls, weed through and respond to emails, answer the door etc. On your friend or family member’s behalf, you can accept expressions of care and concern and coordinate all the generous offers of help.
5. Send a txt from the grocery store or pharmacy. When you are out running errands, give your friend a quick text and see if you can pick up any items–groceries, toiletries, prescriptions. Have them text you a list.
6. If your friend or family member is a parent of young children, consider giving everyone a break. Agree to chauffeur the kids to scheduled activities for a period of time. A day out at the zoo, a movie or museum trip would be a welcome treat.
7. Ask to help with cleaning, chores or laundry. If you get a green light–just do it!!! Don’t fuss and bother over the details.
8. When you plant your spring flowers, surprise your friend with a beautiful planter for their porch.
9. Accompany them to their doctor or treatment appointment. Pick them up and allow plenty of time. These appointments take time, often run late and take longer than expected. If your friend is feeling up to it, stop for ice cream or coffee on the way home!
10. Mow the lawn (shovel the snow). If unable to do it yourself, consider pre-paying for the service to be done for your friend.
Final words: do this because you care deeply and want to help. This is not the time to be acknowledged or recognized with a call, card or sentiment. Your friend or family member needs all their energy to get well!