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5 Ways to Support a Family Battling Cancer

5 Ways to Support a Family Battling Cancer

grief, widowhood, cancer support


Each quarter I attend a non-profit round table at which I have the honor of collaborating with other organizations in the Greater Philadelphia Area. Some of which, have a presence nationwide - Alex's Lemonade Stand, for example.


Each organization is cancer-focused but each with their own niche. Some provide basic needs to families, others provide financial relief, one provides housing during treatment and another provides respite trips. We at Small Moments, provide "grief breaks".

An overarching theme of our conversation this month was that when one family member is sick, the whole family is sick.


Sure, it's different for each family member.... but it's true.


With one diagnosis, an entire family is ridden with anxiety and fear. No one's eating well....if anyone is eating at all. An entire family is lacking sleep and exercise. Not drinking enough water. Feeling isolated.


They're likely missing work and school - struggling emotionally, physically and financially.


Cancer affects the entire family.

So, how can you help an entire family affected by cancer? I have a section of what to do and what not to do in my Memoir "I'd Still Choose You" coming out this spring.


But until then, here are a few ideas:


  1. Send DoorDash gift cards It was so nice to have a balance in my DoorDash account while we were going through our brain cancer journey. Having a balance gave me a guilt-free excuse to order myself a legitimate meal rather than pick on my kid's left over mac and cheese for the 9834th day in a row.

  2. Give the gift of a cleaning service Cleaning will inevitably be low on the list of priorities but... a clean house is clearer mind. Tell the family you'd like to coordinate and pay for this service - but check with them first before scheduling.

  3. Drop off a meal Coordinate a meal train with neighbors and friends. Ask the family what time they'd like dinner and let them know that meals will be dropped off every Monday at that time. And make extra! There could be other family members/caregivers over, too. *It was really nice when friends would drop off two meals - one to eat right away and another to freeze and pull out when needed.

  4. Run errands Say something like, "I'm running to Target, do you need diapers, wipes, milk, shampoo, etc.?" Or, "send me your grocery list, I'm going to take care of the shopping today." Pretty simple.

  5. Send a hand-written note You aren't alleviating the physical burden, but in an extremely isolating time, knowing someone is thinking about you means a lot. Say "I can't possible understand how you feel, but I'm rooting for you" or "I don't know what you're going through, but I've been thinking about you constantly" or just "this is so damn unfair and I'm sorry." *Someone who I hadn't spoken to in many, many years that knew Mike since elementary school wrote hand-written letters to my boys about their dad and the impact his kindness had on him.



Offering both practical and emotional support can help a family in crisis. Help reduce the burden of their "other" responsibilities - because when cancer comes in, it forces itself to the very tippy top of their list. The whole families' list.








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4 Comments


Guest
Feb 07

what a challenge knowing what to do, what to say and how to act prayer is the best thing I believe

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Guest
Feb 07

This is beautiful way to help and serve a neighbor. I love the suggestions. Thank you

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Guest
Feb 07

Every little support will help for a family facing this terrible decease. I was in this situation before, and it's not a pleasant thing to go through. Thanks for this post!

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Guest
Feb 07

Thankyou for writing this. I love these ideas as it can be difficult to know what to do in this situation and you worry you might do the “wrong” thing but you want to do something, even it it’s small.

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