Cancer. A word that no one wants to hear. Not for themselves and not for their loved ones. Helping or supporting someone with cancer is hard. As a loved one you can feel helpless and truly, unless you are going through it, you can't know what someone with cancer is feeling. How can you help? What can you do to support them?
As someone who is battling cancer, here are some ideas on how to support someone with cancer.
First and foremost Pray. Pray for guidance, patience, anxious thoughts, trust and strength for the person. Pray for test results, doctors, symptoms and treatments. Pray for God plan. Pray for clarity. Pray for the person's faith. Pray for the family. Pray about it all. Prayer is powerful!
Start a MealTrain or Bring a Meal
When I was first diagnosed, we created a meal train for our family. This was such a big help and it was nice knowing I didn't need to worry about what I was going to cook for dinner every night. People either brought home cooked meals or brought take out for us. It was a lifesaver in those first couple months. There is a website that takes the planning out of it all called MealTrain.com. You can setup an account and pick the dates you need meals and there is also a place were you can write favorite meals/restaurants. There is also a spot where you can add foods to avoid etc. I highly recommend this one. If this isn't an option, bring a meal to the person.
Give a Gift card
If you're not sure how to help, get the family a gift card. A gift card to a restaurant or a place like Target or Walmart can help take the ease off of every day expenses. We appreciated all of the food gift cards. We also got a gift card to Doordash and having our food delivered to our door was a big help! I would say this gift card was our favorite.
This might be hard. What do you say? I don't know how to approach the situation. I found for me, I appreciated a simple text such as, "Hey! Want you to know I'm thinking about you! How are you doing?" or "Hey friend! I'm praying for you." It's easy to feel alone and not yourself when something like this happens and knowing a friend is there to check on you and is truly praying for you makes a world of a difference. I was lucky enough to have friends who checked in with me weekly or at least every other week to see how I was doing and just listened. This is not a time to talk about your problems. Just listen. They let me vent if I needed to or was there to make me smile. Contact them.
Giving a gift of money to help with the medical bills can be a big help. If you are able to donate to the family, every penny can help. When I was originally diagnosed the medical bills kept rolling in. It was daunting and I remember feeling overwhelmed. Then we were blessed with some donations and we felt some relief. Treatments for cancer are expensive and depending on your insurance, cancer patients can pay a lot out of pocket. If you are able, this would also be a big help to your friend or loved one.
Help them find a group or fellow cancer fighter
Truly you can't know what a cancer fighter is going through unless you've been there. The thoughts, the emotions, the rollercoaster of it all. It's crazy. Talking to someone else who is going through the same thing or has gone through it is a big help. They can help your loved one feel like they are not alone and can give them a little insight on what to expect. They are not alone. Their emotions are okay and they aren't the only one going through it. There are also many groups to join, not only for the cancer fighter, but also for the other family members. My recommendation would be to try and find one of these for your friend or loved one if they are interested. (I would happily help any other breast cancer fighters! Please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns. Please share my information with them!)
There are many more ways that you can help a friend or loved one with cancer, but personally these were the main ones that helped me and my family! We are blessed to have not only an amazing family, but also an amazing community that has supported us from the beginning! Cancer is scary, but with a positive mindset and an incredible team or prayer warriors, you can get through it!
I pray that this post gives you answers on how to help! Let me know if you have any other questions or are looking for any other ideas :)