5 Ways to Give Back During The Holidays

by GregP_WN

The Holiday Season is in full swing and most of us are thinking of things to give your friends and loved ones. Some of us are even making last minute changes to our wish lists. And then some of us cancer survivors and caregivers have an urge to do more, to give back in some way. After going through a life-altering event like cancer, many of us feel a need to help others, in whatever way we can. 

5 Ways To Give Back During The Holidays

So how can you give back? Here are 5 easy ways to give back during this season of giving. 

First, what are you good at? Do you have any special skills? Can you speak in front of groups? If so that is a good starting point, now you need to decide who you're giving back to. There are lots of organizations that are in need of volunteers, especially during the Holiday Season. You could easily find hundreds of places and ways to help out around just about any community, but we will concentrate on giving back to the cancer community for cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers. 

1) Your Cancer Treatment Facility - This could be an easy place to check with on how you could help out. Lots of treatment centers have volunteers that will help with comfort items, like handing out blankets, getting something to drink for the patients, or simply just sitting next to someone that is having treatment and is alone. One of our own WhatNexters "Dan7264" makes regular visits to the center where he received his treatment and sits with patients that might not have someone with them. He also has quirky shirts printed up and gives them out to the patients. The shirts have a variety of funny quotes on them and they help to lighten the mood and lessen the reality of the moment for them. It's easy to get started with this one, just stop by your local cancer treatment facility and ask how you could volunteer.  

Read More About Dan's Volunteer Work

Dan7264 Fu Nov Dan7264

2) Volunteer with local cancer-related charity - Organizations like the American Cancer Society, Relay For Life, StandUp2Cancer, Gilda's Club, the ACS Hope Lodges, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and many others are always looking for volunteers. Most of the time you can choose how much or how little you want to offer in time, they will always be grateful for whatever you can give. 

American Cancer Society - Their largest fundraising effort comes from their own Relay For Life organization. You can click on their link and find your local chapter and give them a call or contact them online to find out how you can help out. You can join an existing team, if you have some friends that are already participating, or you can start your own team and raise money for Relay For Life. The funds raised help patients, survivors, caregivers, and family through research programs that develop new treatment programs, benefits to patients and support programs for cancer patients. 

Road to Recovery - The American Cancer Society also has opportunities for you to drive patients to treatment and back home. It's a simple program that means the World to a cancer patient that has no other way to get to and from treatments. To find out how to get involved in this program, contact the Road to Recovery Program

Luminaria Honor At Relay For Life

StandUp2Cancer - A relatively new cancer charity compared to some of the others that have been around for 30 or 40 years, StandUp2Cancer is another organization that won't turn down an offer to help. They have events Nationwide to raise money for cancer research and patient benefit programs. If you feel that you have the energy and drive, you can even start your own chapter or organize an event in your hometown. Click here for their volunteer form. 

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society - The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is the world's largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world and provides free information and support services.

Monies raised for them help with funding research projects and helping cancer patients get through and be able to afford treatments. You can get involved with them by checking their website here.

Hope Lodges - The American Cancer Society offers rooms free of charge to cancer patients and a caregiver when having treatment at a facility more than 50 miles from their own home. According to their website: "Each Hope Lodge offers cancer patients and their caregivers a free place to stay when their best hope for effective treatment may be in another city. Not having to worry about where to stay or how to pay for lodging allows guests to focus on getting better. Hope Lodge provides a nurturing, home-like environment where guests can retreat to private rooms or connect with others. Every Hope Lodge also offers a variety of resources and information about cancer and how best to fight the disease."

Hope Lodge Grand Rapids Michigan

Each hope lodge has needs for volunteers for things like providing dinner for the house on one night, helping with routine cleaning, talking with patients or caregivers, and more. Many civic groups will provide a dinner for the house and help with the serving as a project. You may either contact the Hope Lodge near you or suggest this activity to your civic group as a way to give back. 

Gilda's Club - Gilda's Club is a community organization for people living with cancer, their families, and friends. Local chapters provide meeting places where those living with cancer, their families, and friends can join with others to build emotional and social support as a supplement to medical care. Free of charge and nonprofit, Gilda's Club chapters offer support and networking groups, lectures, workshops and social events in a nonresidential, homelike setting. 


The club was named in tribute to an original Saturday Night Live cast member Gilda Radner, who died of ovarian cancer in 1989. In 2009, Gilda's Club merged with The Wellness Community to form the Cancer Support Community, although local branches generally opted to retain the name Gilda's Club.

Most Gilda's Clubs will hold support nights, events that will include a guest speaker, someone who has beaten the odds and been through their own cancer experience or as a caregiver for someone who has. They also are happy to have volunteer help for events and other activities they may have. To find out how you might be able to volunteer with them, check out their partner website Cancer Support Community.

3) Online Support - There are several organizations that offer online support for cancer patients, their caregivers and family. WhatNext is the internet's leading resource of first-hand cancer experiences. As a survivor or current patient, your experiences are more valuable than you may know. There is a very simple, but extremely needed opportunity for you to give back. All you have to do is be active on the site, answer questions, post questions of your own, post some inspirational, motivational, or educational quotes on our Pinboard

Fb Wn Logo 7.30

To get involved in supporting others on WhatNext, all you have to do is Register, fill out your own cancer diagnosis profile and fill in some information that describes your cancer journey (what you were diagnosed with and what treatments, side effects that you have been through) then take a look at our questions page for questions that you may have experience with and information to add to the conversation. 

Do you remember your first day of officially being a cancer patient? You were most likely scared and had lots of questions running through your head. Do you remember the first time you logged on to WhatNext and got some answers that you were needing? It helps a newly diagnosed patient greatly by having someone to talk to that has been there and beat that. First, just knowing that there are others out there that have already beaten the same cancer that you currently are fighting, is a comfort. Being able to talk to them and ask questions specific to you and your type of cancer is a huge help. 

Giving back on WhatNext is the easiest way that anyone can offer help and support, and it costs you nothing but time. We welcome you to join in the conversations and see how you can help someone on the site. You can even ask to be a guest moderator if you want. 

Another easy way to help others on the site is to share your cancer story in detail through a blog post. Don't worry, you don't have to be a writer, you can simply write out what you have been through following an outline we will provide for you. We will take your information and tidy it up into a great motivational, and inspirational article that is sure to inspire thousands. For more information email us. Our website and social network reach literally millions of people in a week. You can be a part of it. 

4)  Use Your Hobby - Do you knit, sew, or are you a great cook? You can take most any hobby and turn it into a way to give back and support cancer patients. You are very aware that most cancer patients will lose their hair during chemo. You could knit some cute caps, beanies, scarves, etc and drop them off at your treatment facility. You could even search out cancer patients in your community to help directly. Any community in America has cancer patients, chances are that you know some of them. Give them a call and offer your talents to them. You might make a dish for supper for them that can be easily warmed up in the oven or microwave. 

Knitted HatJust be aware that most cancer patients will not readily ask for your help. If you call them up and ask if they need anything, they are likely to say no. But, if you call up and say "I have a great dish I made for you and your family for supper, what time is good time to drop it off"? You are likely to get a yes. 

5) Give Items That Help Patients - You can give your hair. Pantene Beautiful will accept your hair that will then be used in making wigs for cancer patients. For more information, contact them here. 

Your cancer related hand me downs. Do you have a wig, mastectomy/lumpectomy bra, or some scarves that are still in great shape that you no longer need? Donate it to your local cancer treatment facility or to The Fight Club Survivor Organization who will give them to those in need for free. 

Some organizations will also accept large items as a gift that they may sell. A used car that you no longer need is a great gift to some organizations. And, it's tax deductible. Or you may want to get a jump on Spring cleaning and clean out the garage or attic/basement and donate those items to a local organization that will sell them in a yard sale to donate the funds to their organization. Most Relay For Life chapters will gladly take your donated items, there is always a team that has an annual yard sale as a fundraiser. Just contact your local Relay Event Chair or any Committee member and they will help you. 

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