Someone you care about was newly diagnosed with cancer. You want to be supportive and helpful during this trying time. You simply don’t know what you can or should offer.
You don’t have to make any grand gestures in order to provide practical or significant support to someone close to you who is fighting cancer. Below are several meaningful actions you can take to show how much you care.
The next time you’re at the store, call or text to see if there is anything you can pick up and bring by.
2. Do Chores
Weed the garden. Wash the car. Pick up some laundry, take it home and bring it back clean and folded.
Pick up the kids and take them somewhere fun for an afternoon. You’ll give your friend a chance to rest and provide an outlet for the children.
Offer to take your loved one to medical appointments, shopping or just a ride.
5. Walk the Dog
If you live close enough, you might take the family pooch on a daily stroll around the neighborhood.
Watch a movie together, eat chocolate or just sit close by while your friend rests.
Check in, chat about little things or leave an uplifting voice mail.
8. Make Plans
Look up resorts for that girls’ trip you’re going to take together next summer. Discuss the party you’re going to have when your friend finishes chemo. Plan things to look forward to.
9. Take Notes
Attend doctors’ visits with your loved one and write down important details such as treatments to look into or appointments to make.
Find doctors or ways to ease side effects. Make phone calls, ask questions and collect information.
11. Raise Funds
Take part in a fundraiser for a cancer organization or start a fundraiser to help offset your friend’s expenses.
12. Raise Awareness
Wear the appropriate colored ribbons. Talk about your loved one’s type of cancer on social media. Encourage others you know to get screened.
Learn more about your friend’s diagnosis. Find out about treatment options, clinical trials or alternative therapies.
14. Send Mail
A card or old-fashioned letter can be the perfect pick-me-up.
15. Give Gifts
Deliver thoughtful gifts that will bring comfort, make life easier or simply bring a smile, such as a blanket and book to take to chemo appointments or a basket of produce from the farmer’s market.
16. Provide Distractions
Chat about the goings-on at work or in your group. Tell silly jokes. Work on a jigsaw puzzle together.
17. Be a Safe Place
Let your friend vent, cry, scream or just be sad around you. Offer a shoulder with no strings attached.
18. Be Present
Really listen during conversations with your loved one. Put down your phone, turn off the television and be in the moment.
Caring touch is a powerful thing. Hold hands, give hugs or simply place your hand on your friend’s shoulder now and then.
Find ways to inject joy throughout your loved one’s fight against cancer. Have a pre-chemo haircut party or an end-of-chemo bash.
21. Take Initiative
Look for creative ways to offer support. Your friend may not want to be a “burden,” so be proactive.
22. Be Respectful
Make sure your loved one is up for a visit or okay with you taking on chores before you just show up.
23. Be Yourself
Of course you are concerned about your friend, but try not to walk on eggshells. Maintaining your usual relationship will help provide a sense of normalcy and optimism.
24. Stick It Out
After treatment, your loved one will still need support. Fatigue and other side effects can last for months or longer. Your friend may deal with a mix of post-treatment emotions, as well. Be there for the long haul.
Simply say, “I care about you and I’m here for you. What can I do to make this easier?” Your heartfelt offer may be the best support of all.