List of Ways You Can Help and Encourage a Friend or Family Member Going Through Cancer Treatments.
Positive Things You Can Do to Help Someone You Love During Cancer Treatments.
Having cancer can be a terrifying, emotional, and often lonely journey. Knowing that others care about you, are praying for you, and are there for you means so much.
My post, What to Say and Not Say to Someone with Cancer, was about the effect the words we say have on a breast cancer patient. And, while encouraging words are helpful, your actions are powerful. You can impact a loved one undergoing cancer treatment by helping someone through thoughtful cards, gifts, acts of service, and giving your time. In this post, you’ll find helpful ways to encourage someone going through cancer and some thoughtful gifts your loved one can use and enjoy.
I hope these ideas inspire you to do something special today for your care about who is battling cancer.
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What You Can Do for Someone Going Through Cancer Treatments
Here are some things you can do to encourage your friend or family member:
Take Someone to Lunch or on an Outing
If your friend is well enough, take them to lunch or invite them on an outing. I will never forget how my friend, Mindy drove three hours to take me to lunch and spend the afternoon with me in a craft class. Or my friend, Susan, who celebrated my birthday by attending a painting class with me. For someone battling cancer, getting out of the house, laughing with a friend, and just feeling “normal” for a few hours can mean so much.
Leave a Package, a Card, or a Note at Their Door
Another friend, Carol, would leave gifts at my door during my treatments. These thoughtful little surprises left on my doorstep always made me smile, and I still treasure each one.
Whether you’re miles away from the person or just next door, sending cards can brighten a person’s day. If you know someone going through cancer, consider sending them thoughtful notes and cards every couple of weeks.
Messages Them Via Text, Messenger or Email
While you don’t want to fill up their inbox, occasionally sending messages letting them know you’re thinking of them, asking them how you can help, and letting them know you are praying for them can mean so much.
Call Them on the Phone
As with card and messages, an occasional phone call is a lovely way to let someone know you care.
Give the Gift of Laughter
Laughter is the best medicine. Send funny cards, text, or message your friend jokes. It can brighten their day. Just make sure you know their personality and what they will think is funny.
For example, when my friend Carrie was undergoing chemotherapy, her close friend gave her funny hats. These hats included a Turkey hat for Thanksgiving, a Christmas Tree hat, etc. They were funny, and Carrie looked so cute wearing them. They fit her personality and sense of humor.
Gifts of Service – Practical Ways You Can Help Someone Who Has Cancer
Even the most mundane, everyday tasks can seem arduous when you are going through treatments. Here are some ways to lighten the load for your friend and her family.
You can do many of the tasks listed below without adding extra time or work for yourself. If you are making a meal, double the amount and share half with your friend. Suppose you are going to the grocery store or running errands. Text your friend and ask if she needs you to pick something up for her.
Make Your Friend’s life easier doing one of these gifts of service
The gift of a prepared meal is one of the best things you can do for someone. Meal preparation can be exhausting for someone going through cancer treatments. Getting proper nutrition is essential, but the person undergoing treatment doesn’t feel like preparing meals. And for the spouse or family member helping care for the person, it’s another added responsibility in an already overloaded schedule.
You could also organize a meal train with friends, church members, neighbors, or co-workers to provide your friend with cancer a week or a month’s worth of meals. The Take Them A Meal site is a simple online service designed for this purpose.
I remember grocery shopping was one of the most challenging things I had to do during treatments. I never realized how much energy was required pushing the cart around the store, gathering the items on my list, carrying the bags to the car, and then unloading the car when I got home. It was exhausting. Thankfully, my husband went with me most of the time.
Also, grocery stores are full of people, and where there are people, there are germs. For a person with a lowered immune system, there are times when they don’t need exposure to this risk.
So, grocery shopping can significantly help someone going through cancer treatments.
Another option, if you don’t have time to shop for them, is to purchase gift cards for grocery delivery services (ex: Instacart, Shipt, etc.)
As with grocery shopping, any errands you can run for someone saves them time and energy.
Babysit Their Kids, Pick Their Children up from School, Take Them to After-School Activities
For those going through cancer who have young children, their responsibilities are even greater. They’re trying to keep a sense of normality in their family while dealing with their disease and all its side effects. Anything you can do to help these parents care for their kids during this time is much needed and will be greatly appreciated.
Take Care of Their Pets
Pets can give so much comfort but require a lot of attention and care. If you live nearby, offer to take your friend’s dog for a walk around the block. Or offer to pet-sit if the person has to travel for medical treatment or spend time in the hospital. Boarding an animal can be expensive, so you are saving that person money and giving them peace of mind that their fur babies are safe.
Clean Their House
Keeping your home clean when you feel bad is difficult. Offering to clean someone’s house can mean so much to someone. If you don’t have time or can’t physically clean their home, consider giving them a gift of a housecleaning service.
Thoughtful Gift Ideas for Cancer Patients
Gifts Your Friend with Cancer Will Use and Enjoy
Box of Sunshine
I’ve been using the Box of Sunshine idea for years, and it’s my absolute favorite gift idea. Not only for those going through cancer but as a gift for anyone needing a “pick-me-up”. It’s so versatile and since you decide the size of the box (or basket, bucket, bag, coffee mug, or mason jar along with what goes in it, you can make this gift as large or as small as you like. This little gift of sunshine is perfect for creating a cancer or chemo care package.
The Hanging On Hope Box
The Hanging on Hope Box is a fantastic gift-giving idea. It is the only subscription box designed specifically for women with cancer. You can order a one-, three-, six-, or twelve-month subscription. Each month, your loved one receives a beautiful gift box filled with 4-6 items chosen especially for someone battling cancer. These gift boxes contain high-quality products designed to comfort the body, calm the mind, and give hope and peace to their spirit. The Hanging on Hope Box is a beautiful way to encourage your friend or family member every month through their cancer journey.
To see what’s inside one of these Hanging on Hope boxes, check out this video of me I made opening my gift box.
Kindle Books or Audio Books
A cancer patient spends a considerable amount of time in chemo treatments, waiting rooms, and in the car, traveling to appointments. Reading or listening to books can help make the time go by more pleasantly.
Amazon Prime or Netflix subscription
Gift cards are always helpful to someone going through cancer, especially if they have to travel out of town for treatment. Gas cards, Starbucks, and restaurants in the area would be much appreciated.
A box of note cards with stamps
This helps a person write thank you notes for gifts they have received and mail them without ever leaving the house.
Cozy Blanket or Throw
A soft, fuzzy blanket can be so comforting when you aren’t feeling well. Travel blankets are ideal for cancer patients to take to Chemo treatments.
Pajamas with buttons along the front of the top
Make sure they are easy to get on and off. And the softer these pajamas are, the better.
A soft, loose-fitting, easy-to-slip on bathrobe is an excellent gift for a breast cancer patient.
For women with breast cancer this shawl is perfect for use during recovery from lumpectomy, mastectomy, and radiation treatments because it’s super easy to slide on and off.
Washable slippers for hospital stays
Make sure the bottoms of the slippers are no-slip. Hospital floors can be slippery.
Portable food items are a practical gift your friend will appreciate. Snacks are great for traveling to appointments, during chemo treatments, and while waiting at doctor appointments.
I hope these ideas inspired you to do something special for a friend or family member undergoing cancer treatments today. Do you have an idea to help someone during cancer treatments that’s not mentioned here? Please share in the comments below.