Tips For Helping Someone With Cancer

by GregP_WN

Finding out that someone you care about has been hit with a cancer diagnosis is heartbreaking...and confusing. Whether it's a spouse, a parent, a young adult, a friend, a colleague or a child - it's often difficult to know what to say or what to do. Or what to not say or not do! Each case is a little different, but here are some tips for helping someone with cancer.

Friends There For You No Matter What

We turned to our panel of experts on WhatNext - people who have been touched by cancer - and asked them to share some of the nicest and most helpful things others have done to support them in their cancer battles. Maybe they can inspire some ideas to help you support your loved ones. Here's what they had to say:

1. "People from my dad's work put together a fund to help for my gas [to get to and from treatment]. I thought that was so sweet!" -- babybluevolley

2. "Just being there for me." -- alliawn

3. "People that we didn't know would send gift/snack baskets to the hospital when my mom was hospitalized." -- staci1219

Queesy Gift Basket

4. "I have a group of online friends. We've never met but we've chatted for years on an online support board. This group of women donated money to an online account, and started sending us dinners. When they'd see I had a crazy day, they'd order dinner delivered from a local restaurant. They ordered frozen meals delivered from an online website. They ordered us a load of groceries when I didn't have time to get to the store. They sent my husband a hand knitted shawl and a hat. They sent books and games to my kids. They sent me a charm that says "Faith, Hope, Love."-- danellsar

5. "The day before my surgery we went to a church in that city [out of town} and people we didn't know prayed for us and one of them canceled all his appointments the next day to stay with my husband during my surgery so he wouldn't be there alone." -- Cindy

6. "Bob's boss moved mountains to get Tech Services' immediate attention to his laptop's wireless capability - he can access all his work files from the chemo lab, WIFI and on our home rural access wireless. He is "telecommuting", and so happy to be able to continue working!" -- tmercer

7. "I have four friends who stay in touch daily. One is going through non-Hodgkins B lymphoma herself and we're each other's support." -- akristine

Friends As A Distraction

8. "My stepmother dropped everything, came up to Wisconsin from Florida to take care of my 17 year old, see me through the surgery, cleaned our apartment from top to bottom, and stocked the chest freezer with meals." -- Dulcinea

9. "A group of my co-workers put themselves on a list to drive me - to work, from work, to and from radiation treatments - when I was on crutches and then a cane in the middle of winter. I had no idea that I was any more than a name and a face. It was very surprising and opened me up to more meaningful relationships with them all." -- RuthAnne

10. "In early 2009, when my sick leave ran out, fellow co-workers donated 10 months of sick leave so that I could finish the year in a clinical trial and retain my benefits. In June of that year, a little over 30 of them came to my house and did a backyard makeover, re-surfacing our deck, building three raised planter areas and installing a fire pit. How can you possibly pay that back?" -- po18guy

11. "I was helped by total strangers at the most critical times while going through treatment. I ended up selling my vehicle for some cash to get me through and ended up getting over a hundred rides without ever having to worry about it once. Cheers for all the helpers in the world." -- markmather

12. "Coming out of church, a young man - a complete stranger to me - approached me, hesitated, and said, "Excuse me, I probably shouldn't say anything, but are you in chemotherapy?" I looked at him, and he was so nice looking, despite a surgical scar and dent beneath his eye, that I could only say, "Yes, I am." He held out his hand to me, introduced himself and said, "I am a two-time survivor. I shouldn't even be here, I was Stage IV, but here I am 10 years later." He gave me compassion and hope and faith. I could only give him a hug and say, "Thank you." -- attypatty

13. "Close family friends of ours registered for a Breast Cancer bike ride in my honor. My daughter and I rode with them." -- karenp

14. "Gave me back laughter. The day after my surprised diagnosis during a "routine" surgery, my rabbi came to visit (even though it was Saturday morning, when she was supposed to be at synagogue. She sat with me, sang to me, and most important, made me laugh when I thought I'd never laugh again. Since then, I've laughed a lot. That first laugh put me back on the road of the living." -- abrub

There are many more stories of kindness at WhatNext, we hope you'll join us and help build our list of ways people can help cancer fighters. Or, feel free to share some ideas of your own by commenting below.

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