A cancer warrior speaks

June 27, 2017

cancer-warriorI’m glad you’re reading this, because it’s an important piece. It was written and posted on Facebook last month by my Facebook friend, Petrina Hamm. She’s a valiant cancer warrior –you probably have some among your friends–and she is going to tell you what you can do to support them as they battle. She’s honest, she’s direct and let me tell you, these are GREAT ideas that you can use.  Thank you, Petrina. Here she is:

In  honor of the 1.6 million fellow Americans who got hit with a cancer diagnosis last year – and all the millions more round the world this year, I wanted to put out a list of things you can do to help when a friend or loved one of yours gets hit with a cancer diagnosis.

  1. Keeping them in your thoughts + prayers is nice- but DOING something is even better. Ask if they need anything- even if they respond “no,” get more specific and ask if they need any of the following things on this list that you’re able to give…
  2. Rides to treatment & company – chemo & radiation & surgery. Ask if they need a way to get there or would like some company. Chemo sessions can take a whole day for some cancer patients- blessed to have had my husband by my side for most of my chemo treatments. Having company for overnight hospital stays helps so much- incredibly grateful for my sister Rebecca and friend Jasmin for being there for me at the the hospital. My mom, Deborah, stayed with me while having a blood transfusion- which reminds me DONATE BLOOD IF YOU CAN!

  3. A homemade meal or a gift card for a place close to them that delivers. Go the extra mile and set up a meal train for them at www.mealtrain.com if one hasn’t yet been set up – someone did this for me and it was such an incredible blessing for our family- and gave me some much needed company from local friends and family.

  4. Money. Yes, even a little bit helps. Ask if their treatment is stressing them out financially (answer will probably be yes even by those with “good” insurance coverage through an employer). You can set up a a GoFundMe campaign on their behalf or suggest it that they do it. Or you could have a fundraiser of some sort – whether it be a BBQ or something to do with an MLM online party.

  5. Cards/gifts. Funny ones are good. Anything to lighten the load or lift the spirit.

  6. Phone calls/texts. Check in to see how they’re doing/feeling/if they need anything. Make it not just about the cancer. Laughter is the best medicine so if you have a funny story to tell, do it.

  7. Is your child friends with their child? Offer to host playdates. This gives a cancer patient time to rest and their child(ren) time to play with others and feel more normal.

  8. The pleasure of your company! Ask if they want to meet for lunch/coffee/whatever. Or, if you’re really awesome, ask if they need you to come over + clean. 😉

  9. Funny memes/jokes on their FB timeline. I looooooved these. Picked me up on even my worst of days. Keep in mind some people have different senses of humor. If your cancer patient friend is not one to enjoy crudeness, don’t send a crude meme (fyi: I am clearly NOT one of these people).

  10. Don’t stop showing you care after their treatment ends. Recurrence is a great source of anxiety for EVERY cancer patient. Be a rock for them when they need a shoulder to cry on, an ear to vent to – or again, someone to accompany them to a screening (hold their hand and encourage them to be brave + stay optimistic through it all).

Awesome with awesome sauce bonus: donate on their behalf/in their honor to a cancer charity (check their rating first to make sure that most of money goes to research/treatment/perks for cancer patients, NOT administrative overhead).

There you have it. Print this if you have a loved one fighting cancer.

Share away for the millions of others who do too.

39 comments on “A cancer warrior speaks
  1. shari Eberts says:

    Thoughtful and practical ideas. Thanks for sharing them.

  2. This list is fabulous! I am always looking for ways to bring a smile or to lighten the load for my loved ones who are fighting now.

  3. robin rue says:

    A homemade meal is always a good idea. For those who are sick, just had babies or who are nursing injuries.

  4. Samantha Bye says:

    All such useful tips! Cancer is such a difficult thing for a family to go through, so helping as best you can shows real support.

  5. I love these ideas so much! I had a friend with cancer. and I had no idea what I could do to help her. I was totally at a loss.

  6. Bill Sweeney says:

    Don’t stop showing you care is a big one. So many times, people come out of the woodwork when someone gets cancer, but they disappear again as soon as they go into remission.

  7. Jenn JG says:

    Such great ideas.A helping hand is always nice and even just offering is comforting to that person!

  8. This is a great list. I hope that i will never have to deal with a loved one getting cancer. But, it is good to be reminded of what I need to do to help if it happens.

  9. Sarah says:

    Great tips and ideas to help a loved one with cancer. I’ve known many family members and friends that have gone through cancer and the rough treatments like chemo. This is helpful for people with chronic illnesses as well, thanks!

  10. Karlyn cruz says:

    This is such a good list. I think if we all did just one of those things you’ve listed, like even just finding a great way to make them smile or laugh, can help in such a significant way. I love this post so much because we never know how people with cancer really are until someone we love or yourself goes through it.

  11. Liz Mays says:

    This is really helpful. There are so many ways to support friends and family members who are going through this!

  12. Cancer is such a huge health problem. I know way too many people who have lost the battle and war against cancer.

  13. Carolann says:

    this was such useful info, Carol. My hubby has Follicular lymphoma and he is such a warrior about it. Thankfully, he is doing great. It always breaks my heart in pieces but this is life!

  14. Pam says:

    When my mom had cancer, people who brought meals were lifesavers. Possibly literally, because I was so stressed that I would forget to eat, haha. Plus a lot of the stuff tempted my mom, who wasn’t hungry thanks to chemo. I’ll never forget when someone showed up with her favorite cornbread and she actually enjoyed it! It really brightened her life during a dark time.

  15. Jay says:

    You are so brave for sharing this !! Thank you I am going to share with some friends who are going through the same thing<3

  16. Julie Syl says:

    These are very useful and helpful. For me, its a pleasure to know about these. 🙂 Thank you for sharing this.

  17. This is great to know. I think, too often, people have good intentions but simply don’t know the best thing to do to help someone with cancer. This is so helpful.

  18. Czjai says:

    Great ideas, Carol! Prayers are great, but being there physically for your friend/loved one makes a big difference. 🙂

  19. Maureen says:

    This is a very helpful list to help someone who has cancer. I am sure it’s a difficult time for everyone involved and they have no idea what to ask for help or have others do for them due to pride and being strong as they can be. Loved one aren’t always sure what is right to do, this list will help them!

  20. Cancer is an illness that I really hate. So many loved ones taken away and so many who are suffering because of it. We’re all trying our best to keep ourselves and loved ones safe from it. I think it’s nice that you put up a list of things that we can do to support them.

  21. This is a great list and thoughtful acts of kindness for a friend suffering from cancer. These small things could really mean a lot for them. Thanks for sharing!

  22. Jeanine says:

    Thanks for sharing. years ago my mom was suffering with cancer and i was lost with what to do. I was 15 almost 16 and it was hard. She passed when I was 16,

  23. This is so thoughtful. I know a lot of people get uncomfortable about talking to people with cancer about their struggles, but there are so many small gestures that really do help. This is such a great list and a reminder that we can help.

  24. Wendy Polisi says:

    I don’t like to bug people about their conditions. However, when I know they’re struggling, I like to just shoot them a line so they know someone is thinking about them.

  25. Michelle says:

    These are great tips. I have always wondered how you navigate these relationships when someone is facing this journey.

  26. Tess says:

    Though I havent dealt with this situation, these are great tips to help. Especially with such a touchy subject.

  27. michele says:

    Everyone needs this list! Thanks for sharing.

  28. There are so many wonderful things to do for a person in need. You listed such great ideas.

  29. Amy Desrosiers says:

    These are such great insights. Thank you for sharing the truth about how one can help those fighting cancer.

  30. Rosey says:

    My uncle has cancer right now and I”m struggling to find the words. He’s a rock, always has been. I hate to see him down. We all do.

  31. Crystal says:

    It’s hard to know what to say or do, but this is practical information that will definitely come in handy. It’s good to be a friend, especially when someone you care about is fighting towards recovery.

  32. Dogvills says:

    I have relatives who were diagnosed with cancer, and some of them did not survive. I think the best I could do would be to start a Go Fund Me campaign for them. Treatments are expensive!

  33. Elizabeth o says:

    Im glad you brought this up as I’ve seen friends walk away or change the subject when in the presence of another friend battling cancer. We need to remember they are still alive, are human, and need authentic support not denial or dismissal.

  34. Victoria H Woods says:

    My mother had cancer once. It was a difficult time for her, since she had no friends, our family being out of the States.I love what you said about how we should never stop caring. I know if mom had support in that time, she wouldn’t be so depressed. Also about not making it just about the cancer, that is a HUGE PET PEEVE!

  35. I can’t imagine how hard it is to be battling cancer. This is a great list of things you can do for someone battling cancer. Thank you for sharing.

  36. Our Family World says:

    My cousin is a breast cancer survivor. She has been in remission for 4 years now. She still goes in for screening to check if the cancer is back. During that time, I see her so depressed and anxious of the results. I know they need help financially. I will see what I can do. Maybe ask a few friends to help me set up a fundraiser.

  37. andrea says:

    i cannot even imagine how hard it is to have to battle this very tragic battle. my grandmother passed when i was eight from cancer and i remember how horrible it was during the last months. this is a great list for someone who is going through this. thank you so much for sharing!

  38. Annemarie LeBlanc says:

    When you are suffering from cancer or recuperating from chemo, the last thing you’d want to do is cook. I think starting a meal train for a friend/family member suffering from the disease would really help them by taking the burden off making meals for themselves.

  39. Alayna says:

    I think the hardest part is that you always wish you could do more. These are definitely some great tips!

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