Tips from a cancer survivor on how you can support friends and family diagnosed with cancer

Tips from a cancer survivor on how you can support friends and family diagnosed with cancer

A cancer diagnosis can be a super scary thing. It seems like all of us have been touched by cancer at some point or another.  Perhaps, you have been on the receiving end of that diagnosis, or you have had friends or loved ones that have been.  

This past year alone, I've personally known a handful of people who have been diagnosed with some form of cancer.  I know there have been times when I wanted to help but I wasn't sure how. 
Recently, I asked some cancer survivors to share their insights and tips with us so that we can better support those around us when they are diagnosed.

1. Organize a Meal Train

It's one thing to offer a meal, but another to coordinate it. A friend with cancer isn't going to remember specific dates and offers and if you don't set it up for them, they probably aren't going to want to burden you. 

2. Hire a cleaning service

Someone going through chemo isn't going to feel strong enough to keep up with their daily chores. Having the help of a cleaning service {or a kind friend willing to clean} will help with that burden.

3. Consider giving a gift that helps pass the time

My sister received a Kindle from her co-workers when she was going through chemo. Each session lasts around three hours, so having something to do during that time is helpful. Netflix offers year-long subscription services in the form of a gift card, which could come in handy to help pass the time when your loved one is recovering from surgery or during treatment.

4. Flood their mailbox

While you may want to stop by and see your friend or loved one, they may not be up for visitors. Send notes and cards to let them know that you are thinking of them.

5. Don't take it personally

If your friend doesn't respond to your texts, calls or e-mails, don't take it personally.  It's an overwhelming time.  My friend Aimee says to keep pursuing them. They really do appreciate it even if they can't reciprocate.

6. Don't just it!

It's one thing to say "let me know if I can help" but another to pick a specific time and make it happen.  Be specific in your offers of help. 

7. Organize a Facebook group

People are going to want to help but won't exactly know what to do or how to help unless there is something specific. Setting up a Facebook list and adding the needs {grocery run, help with the laundry, carpooling kids} as they happen and then responding to those needs is a great way to support your friend or loved one. 

It may be really difficult to know how you can help your loved one with cancer, but hopefully these tips will give you a starting point. I would love to see this post help others, so if you have any other ideas that I missed, please leave them in the comments.  

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