When the family caretaker can’t care take of herself because of cancer, and its brutal treatment has wiped her out, everyone feels the pinch. Here’s what you can do to help:
Bring a meal
OK, so you can’t cook. Or you hate to cook. Or you don’t have time to cook. You can still bring a meal. For cancer patients, even the task of deciding what to eat and shopping for groceries can be overwhelming. A frozen lasagna, a bag of packaged salad, and a loaf of purchased bread is an easy way to contribute to a family in the throws of this terrible disease. You don’t have to be Julia Child to help a family feel a sense of normalcy. Just bring over something hot that reminds everyone that you care.
Treat her kids
One of the hardest parts about having cancer is worrying about kids. Are they getting their homework done? Do they have the supplies they need for art class? Have they been outside in the fresh air and sunshine? You can help parents struggling with cancer by taking care of some of these issues. Invite her kids to play with yours. If your family is going to the movies, toss her kids in the car with yours so the cancer patient has a chance to take a nap with peace of mind.
Wash her car
Treatment takes a long time, often nearly a year. And during that time, things tend to slip through the cracks. Offering to wash and vacuum a cancer patient’s car might seem odd, but it’s likely one of those to-do list items that doesn’t make it to page one. A clean car can make life feel like it’s under control, and it’s an easy, inexpensive way for you to make life better for your favorite patient.
Give blood. Or Platelets
Far away? Feeling powerless to make a meaningful contribution? Donating blood or even platelets is a highly meaningful gesture of compassion. Let your patient know you did it for her. She’ll be amazed.
Send Her Prayers and Emotional Support
Even if it’s over the phone, by Facebook, in the mail, or through an unspoken spiritual connection, send your friend emotional support. This disease isn’t a sprint, it’s a long, brutal marathon. Keep all cancer patients of the world in your prayers, and tell the ones you know that you’re there for them.
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