One of the questions I get the most is How do I love this person in my life who has been diagnosed with cancer?

That’s the thing about cancer, it brings out the love in powerful ways.

Brad and I are desperately committed to pay it, the love we’ve received, forward for the rest of our lives. I give every $5 gift card I receive away: to medical staff, to other patients, to grocery store line-mates. Whenever possible, I give, because it makes me feel good. The bonus is that someone else usually smiles, too. Small things done with great love can change the world, right?

I get asked a lot about gift ideas for people with cancer. One of the best things that happened to us is that our friends stepped in and asked to be our Help Coordinators. That was tremendous because I was able to point anyone who said “what can I do” to a team of people who were working behind the scenes to make Help come to life. We needed Help, but often, we couldn’t put words to it in the moment. Appointing Help Coordinators truly lifted our burdens.

Ways to love a cancer patient:

  • organize house cleaning
  • organize lawn mowing/garden maintenance
  • organize meals to be delivered
  • gift cards for local (healthy) restaurants
  • anything that will make them smile and laugh and know that you are thinking about them
  • arrange and pay for them to have family photos taken
  • collect money for a vacation; offer a vacation home for the family to use. Often, cancer patients are in the business of making memories.

Current Radiation Patients:

  • Miaderm brand lotion (available on Amazon)
  • gas card (radiation is usually daily and is the most logistically-heavy phase of cancer treatment)

Chemo Patients:

  • pre-treatment manicure and/or pedicure. (Chemo is often harsh on nails, and salons are a no-no once treatment has begun, so this is really only an option in the window between diagnosis and starting chemo.)
  • Throw him/her a “Hat/Scarf” party. Baby/Wedding shower-style; everyone brings headwear as gifts.

For upcoming breast surgery patients:

  • button-front pajamas and tops
  • gift cards to hospital gift shop or cafeteria
  • gift card to favorite store for shopping for clothes for their new-to-them body

Ones left behind after a death:

  • a wind chime or sun catcher
  • a bird feeder (come prepared to set it all up so they don’t have to do anything)
  • perennial flowers/plant/tree (plant it for them)
  • avoid traditional plants and flowers; they die, and that’s hard

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