31 Thoughtful Things to Do For Someone With Cancer

by Jane Ashley

Many of our friends or co-workers want to know how they can help us through our cancer treatment. We’re often reluctant to ask for help. But we are eternally grateful when someone does one or more of these things for us or our family.

Cozy Socks

1. Grocery shopping. Offer to go grocery shopping or to pick up our on-line order.

2. Offer a ride to treatment. Our caregivers may be juggling a job and taking us back and forth to treatment. A ride to and from daily radiation or picking us up after chemotherapy is a blessing for us.

3. Babysit. A young mother in cancer treatment needs help with her young children, if they are under school-age. Organize babysitting for her on treatment days or after she has surgery.

4. Bring a meal. Dishes that are easy to reheat are a lifesaver.

5. Organize meals. Use an app like Meal Train® for a family when their loved one is facing surgery and won’t be able to cook for several weeks.

6. Offer help with school-age children. Invite children over for slumber party or a Saturday outing.

7. Pet sit. Boarding is expensive. If a friend is facing an out-of-town second opinion or specialized procedure, offer to take care of their cat or dog.

Pet Sit

8. Do their laundry. Ask if you can come over and do the laundry. We are often too tired to strip the beds, wash the linens and then make up the beds again.

9. Volunteer to pick up their prescriptions. All of those extra trips take a toll. Offer to pick up their monthly medicines at the pharmacy.

10. Text an inspiring quote. We need all of the encouragement we can get. Hearing from you means the world to us.

11. Mail a gift card. We don’t like to admit that money is tight. Extra gas going back and forth to treatment and our medical bills take a huge chunk out of every patient’s budget. A gas card, a pharmacy card, a grocery store card, a restaurant card or a card to a hobby/craft store will be welcomed by everyone. If they have a Kindle, buy them an Amazon gift card to buy some new books. Buy a pre-paid Visa card to help take care of doctor visit copays.

12. Hire a housekeeper for a day. Talk about a great project for a Sunday school class! Arrange with the housekeeper so that your friend can call to schedule at a time that works with their treatment schedule. Prepare a new document/gift certificate to present.

Cleaning Service

13. Plow their driveway in the winter. Medical emergencies happen in the winter. Coordinate with a couple of other families to keep their driveway plowed.

14. Donate some vacation days (if your employer is willing). Unpaid leave causes many families financial hardship as they struggle to pay their mortgage and other household expenses. Talk to your fellow employees to see if they might be willing to donate a vacation day or two.

15. Volunteer to water the hanging baskets. Lifting a gallon of water or pulling a hose may be difficult for someone in cancer treatment. But if they love their flowers, come by twice a week and water their plants.

Watering Baskets

16. ITunes gift card. Long chemotherapy sessions can become tiresome. Listening to new music or podcasts or downloading a new book will help the time go by more quickly.

17. Laundry service. Give a gift certificate for a laundry service the offers pick-up and delivery.

18. A soft, cuddly blanket. Not only does this feel good when at chemotherapy, but this feels good when we’re watching TV or taking a cat nap.

19. Loungewear. Pull-on pants, V-neck tee shirts (to allow access to our chemo port ), button up-the-front shirts made of fleece or knit jersey are wonderful gifts. We don’t feel like dressing up. We love to feel cozy and comfortable.

20. Insulated lunch bag. Many of us take a light lunch to our chemotherapy center. An insulated lunch bag or tote is just right for help keep our sandwich or yogurt cold.

21. Adult coloring book with colored pencils. Art and coloring help pass the hours in waiting rooms or chemo rooms or while we are recovering at home.

22. Don’t forget the caregiver. Call or text the caregiver to offer help with household chores or driving or grass mowing or laundry. Caregivers carry a big burden.

23. Call before you visit. We, as cancer patients, aren’t always physically or emotionally able to appreciate company. We may have just gotten bad news or we may be exhausted from chemo or radiation treatments. Be courteous and call us before you come.

24. Don’t forget us after we are first diagnosed. When we are first diagnosed, everyone offers help. Many of us face a year or more of treatment, please don’t forget us.

25. Snail mail a card or note. There is nothing better than to get a hand-addressed note or card in the mail. It seems like all that we get is medical bills, but seeing your handwriting and return address brings joy to our heart.

Hand Written Note

26. Run errands. Give us a call and ask if we need anything from the pharmacy, grocery or big box store.

27. Ride for your child to an after school or Saturday activity. If they have children, ask if they need a ride to soccer, softball practice or dance lessons.

28. Give blood in their name. Patients who have blood cancer frequently need blood transfusions. Donate blood if they are in need or give in their honor.

29. Host a scarf and hat party. Invite close friends and have coffee or light refreshments if one of your friends knows that she will lose her hair.

30. Soft, warm socks. Many cancer patients experience cold hands and feet. Most would enjoy an extra pair of cuddly socks .

31. A charm or pendant. Many women enjoy different charms for a necklace or bracelet. Surprise them with a charm that encourages – choose one embossed with words like HOPE, FAITH or COURAGE.
Gifts and thoughtful acts of kindness mean so much to anyone who has cancer. We, as cancer patients, are scared, anxious and are battling side effects. Yet, we carry on as best we can. Being remembered during these difficult times means the world to us.

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