I have learned from my only journey with cancer and talking with other families they want help but it’s hard due to everything going on in their lives to ask for it. Sometimes it’s hard for people in crisis to tell others they need help. Their number one focus is their child and family. If you find yourself wanting to help, it might be better to offer specific things. I remember when a friend of mine just showed up at my home and asked for my car keys. He said he wanted to take my car to get the oil changed and washed. That was super needed and super helpful. Regular chores are often hard to complete when families are consumed with everything that accompanies a medical emergency.
Here are twenty-five particularly thoughtful things you can do for people:
- Mow their lawn.
- Offer to babysit the other kids while one goes to
treatment or medical exams.
- Fill up their car with gas, wash the car, and/or get the
- Provide meals and/or grocery items.
- Offer to take family photos for them.
- Have a garage sale to raise money for the family.
- Buy fun hats for a child who is losing hair.
- Plant flowers in their yard.
- Offer to look after their pets or walk the dog.
- Bring activity books, sticker books, magazines, and kids’ books.
- Write them a note to say you’re thinking of them.
- Offer to drive siblings to activities.
- Offer to run errands—grocery shopping, dropping off
dry cleaning, etc.
- Clean the house or give them a gift certificate for
- Bring them a “movie night” package—a DVD,
microwave popcorn, and candy.
- Decorate their lawn with encouraging signs.
- Put up or take down holiday decorations.
- Do yard work.
- Promote their Facebook page or any events in their
- Take siblings out for a play day.
- Organize a closet.
- Help them sort through their mail so they don’t lose
track of their bills.
- Offer to make phone calls to their friends and family
with important updates.
- Help them write thank-you notes.
- Order silicone support bracelets or stickers.
If you are a courageous family, what other ways could people help?
I also want to share to those that desire to help…if you don’t get a response right away…don’t panic and don’t take it personal. Families in the trenches of cancer treatment need time. So just let them know you are there and ready!