HOW YOU CAN HELP
You have just learned that a friend or family member has been diagnosed with cancer. You want to reach out, but aren’t sure where to begin.
What should you say?
How can you respectfully show support?
How much is too much or too little?
How can you be present for both the patient and caregiver?
From non-profits that offer free housecleaning services, to all around chore support with organizations like Neighbor Brigade, take advantage of all of the information and resources that Boston Cancer Support has vetted.
The news story What to Say to a Friend Who’s Ill, By Donna Jackson Nakazawa, offers advice from patients, caregivers, friends, and experts in the field of medicine and psychology.
Lotsa Helping Hands, for example, is a free online volunteer coordination service that allows family, friends, neighbors and colleagues to provide assistance with daily activities that become a challenge during times of a medical crisis.
Books can also be great source of information when trying to help someone you care about.
Author Letty Cottin Pogrebin became fascinated by her friends’ and family’s diverse reactions to her and her illness. She began talking to fellow patients and dozens of other veterans of serious illness, seeking to discover what sick people wished their friends knew about how best to comfort, help, and even simply speak to them. Her book “How to be a Friend to a Friend who’s Sick,” tells all. “Truly understanding your friend requires a high level of honesty,” says Pogrebin, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009. She suggests saying: “I may not be able to read you well when you’re feeling sick, so I may not know what you want. But I want to know. Tell me what to bring and what not to bring and when you do and don’t want company.”
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What to Say to a Friend Who’s Ill
You want to help but don’t know how. Experts, patients and friends who’ve been there tell you how to show empathy and give concrete assistance. By Donna Jackson Nakazawa, an award-winning health journalist and the author of The Last Best Cure.
Cancer treatments, work schedules, and life responsibilities can take a toll on families. The cost of transportation to and from treatments can add additional pressures. The following organizations are here to help with transportation.
Cleaning for a Reason is a a nonprofit serving the U.S. and Canada, which partners with maid services to offer professional house cleanings to help women undergoing any type of cancer treatment. To date, Cleaning for a Reason has provided more than 17,000 cleanings for women with cancer with a value of more than $4.5 million in donated cleanings, and has partnered with over 1,100 maid services.
Meal Train is a free solution that simplifies the organization of giving and receiving meals. By allowing the giving party to take into account the recipient’s preferred meal times, food preferences, and available days, the site helps ensure that the recipient gets the meals they enjoy on the days that are most helpful.
Community Servings is a not-for-profit food and nutrition program providing services throughout Massachusetts to individuals and families living with critical and chronic illnesses. They provide their clients, their dependent families, and caregivers appealing, nutritious meals, and send the message to those in greatest need that someone cares. Their goals are to help their clients maintain their health and dignity and preserve the integrity of their families through free, culturally appropriate, home-delivered meals, nutrition education, and other community programs.
Lotsa Helping Hands is a free volunteer coordination service that allows family, friends, neighbors and colleagues to provide assistance with daily activities that become a challenge during times of a medical crisis. Features include the ability to post tasks that require help so volunteers can easily see what’s needed- from food drop off to transpiration, and dissemination information via email. Regular reminders are sent to volunteers so that no one forgets their commitments. In addition, members may leave messages of encouragement. Secure setting allow members to store medications and physician information so all authorized may have access.
CaringBridge offers a place for multiple caregivers and family members to share updates, encouragement, and care arrangement. In addition, there is a guest book that offers a place for journal entries, medical updates, photos, stories, and tributes.
Sign up for a free MyLifeLine.org patient website, where you can find cancer specific resources, post requests for help or donations and update everyone at once, so you can reduce anxiety and save the energy you need to heal. It’s the power of that emotional connection, together with practical day-to-day assistance that can see you through to a more positive outcome.
CareZone makes it easier to stay organized and effective when caring for a parent, child, or someone in need. From your computer, smartphone or tablet you can safely organize files, contacts, and medications, and coordinate with family and other caregivers using a shared calendar and journal.
LIVESTRONG Rally is a community organizational tool that lets your loved ones know how they can support you through your cancer journey. Start one for yourself or someone you love. No one should face cancer alone. It’s time to Rally your community around you.Ask Your Community for Support; Keep Your Friends and Family Connected; Start A Personal Fundraiser.
Family Caregiver Alliance is the first community-based nonprofit organization in the country to address the needs of families and friends providing long-term care for loved ones at home.
For the thousands of people diagnosed every year with life-threatening blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma, a cure exists. Be The Match®, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program® has managed the largest and most diverse marrow registry in the world. We work every day to save lives through transplant.
Neighbor Brigade establishes and mobilizes community-based networks of volunteers to provide immediate and free assistance to neighbors experiencing sudden crises such as cancer treatment, illness, accident, or other tragedy.