Families are in the trenches fighting cancer every day. If cancer hasn’t crossed your path, whether directly or through a loved one, consider yourself lucky. It’s easy to feel helpless when friends and people close to you are struggling. Since September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month here are a few simple things you can do to help those who are facing the dreaded “C” word.
Do. Don’t ask.
It’s easy to say, “let me know if you need anything.” What the family needs is someone to say, “hey, I’m making you dinner.” Or “I’m babysitting - just tell me what day (or night).” Don’t give them the burden of asking. Just offer it.
Gift cards/Massage gift certificates go a long way.
Treatments can sometimes take a patient and family far from home. Do a little research and purchase gift cards for restaurants, hotel chains and gas stations near the hospital they are using. Also, quarter rolls for vending machines are helpful when family cannot get away to eat.
And, of course, a therapeutic massage gift certificate(s) [embracelifemassage.com] is a perfect way to care for your friend. Don’t forget the care givers. Soothing, comforting touch during a time of harsh treatments. A group of friends, co-workers, or church family can go together to purchase gift certificates.
Remember the siblings.
Cancer affects the entire family. Siblings often are trying to navigate many emotions like fear and jealousy. Commit to a sibling and offer to be there for them. Be a friend. Be someone they can lean on and talk to.
Shortly after diagnosis, a family will receive calls, cards, and meals. Anything to help soothe the heartbreaking news. After time, these things fade away and the family is still traveling the long road. But don’t disappear. Meet them where they are. Sometimes there are no words. Just be present. Reach out and enlist the help of others to send cards, letters and other nice/silly/fun things that will brighten the family’s day. Even an “I’ve been thinking of you” text speaks volumes.
These tips might not seem like much, but it can mean the world to a family facing cancer. Long days and sleepless nights can be an endless cycle. Little gestures of kindness can bring the family loads of comfort.
Massage Therapist specializing in Therapeutic, Oncology, and Geriatric massage.