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Often people ask us what to do for a friend with cancer. It can be tough because many of us feel hesitant to reach out. We don’t want to bother the person and we feel a bit awkward. Knowing what to do or say when you haven’t been through a diagnosis yourself is hard.
There are so many awesome ways you can support a friend! So today I wanted to share some of my own experience and a couple of things I learned as a survivor.
One of the most important things to remember is support is critical and not just in the beginning when someone is first diagnosed, but all the way through and even after remission. Support comes in a huge wave when the word gets out that someone was diagnosed, but drops off dramatically soon after. Support is just as important down the road as it is in the beginning (and some may argue even more important!).
Here are some practical things you can do to lift spirits, provide practical help, and let someone know you care:
Quick text message: Set an alarm on your phone each week to remind you to send a quick text message. You can always end in “no need to text back”. That way your friend doesn’t feel obligated to respond if they are overwhelmed that day.
Pickup groceries: Text when you are going to the grocery store or pharmacy. Ask if you can pick up something and bring it by.
Housekeeper: Offer to arrange for a housekeeper to come by one week.
Stop by: Ask if you can stop by just to chat. Feel free to talk about all the normal stuff. Being reminded that cancer isn’t your whole life feels good.
Pick up the kids: Offer to pick the kids up from school on a specific day. Adding a specific time is great, because it feels like a real offer.
Handwritten note: Send a handwritten letter! Cards and letters are great because it gives your friend a reminder that you are thinking of them and sometimes we can say things in letters that we may not feel comfortable saying in person.
Warm them up: Give gifts that people may not necessarily buy for themselves. For example, a warm blanket. Chemo suites can be cold!
Food and friends: Arrange meals with co-workers or friends.
Walk the dog: Arrange to walk their dog
Treatment buddy: Offer to drive and sit with them at their next treatment
Sharable parking pass: Buy a hospital parking pass for friends and family that they can share
iTunes gift card: Send a iTunes gift card for movie rentals
Video messages: Send a video message from a group of friends. Who wouldn’t love that!
Be a point person: Offer to be the point person to other friends to share updates
Just listen: A phone call or a visit where you just listen and don’t offer common platitudes can make all the difference![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]