With the holidays fast approaching, everyone is looking for ways to "give back" this season.
Here at CancerQ, we understand how challenging the holidays can be for families facing cancer. Odds are you know someone, a family or friend, facing cancer and want to know how you can properly support them during a difficult time.
Therefore, we've created our Top 5 ways to give back to a family facing cancer:
1) Offer Your Services, Carefully.
Instead of just asking your friend or family facing cancer, "What can I do to help?", pause for a moment and think about what you are good at. Are you an excellent cook? Are you great at research? Running errands? Shopping?
Think about what skill you can lend to the family and offer those particular services. Call / email / text the main caregiver, significant other, or close family member, and tell them you would like to cook. Have them inform you of a meal that the patient likes and is able to easily eat given current diet restrictions. We often recommend making meals that can be frozen in case the patient's appetite is low.
If you are good at research, ask the main caregiver or family member of any articles, research studies, or publications that are on their reading list that you are able to read and summarize over the holiday break. You know their reading list is long. This will go a long way in showing your support.
The point here is when friends and family take a moment to think about the family's needs and align them with their own skill-sets, it goes a long way and creates efficient ways of providing support without the family having to fully delegate.
2) Lend An Ear.
Sometimes the patient, family members, or the significant other just need a listening ear. Someone to call and really take the time to understand how it's going. Often caregivers don't have the proper outlet or support either. Let them know you are there to just listen.
Text or email to have them call you at a time that works best for them. It might be early in the morning or late at night. But everyone needs a listening ear.
3) Educate Yourself.
Often times when going through cancer as a patient and family, you hear that friends and support networks just don't know what to do, since they haven't experienced cancer or this particular type of cancer first-hand.
Well, fix it. Take some time this holiday to read and research about your friend's particular type of cancer. Explore our site for all of our wonderful Resources.
But caution: You are reading to educate yourself, not be prescriptive to the family. Read to understand what they are going through so you can better respond to their needs, not make recommendations. Try and avoid the words "you should." Just better understand what they are up against so you can ask more informed and educated questions when offering to help.
4) Help Us Recruit CancerQ Ambassadors.
Our growing CancerQ Ambassador program is now up to 4 wonderful ambassadors who have direct experience and expertise facing a particular cancer. But we are looking to quickly grow this program and we need your support!
If you know anyone who has previously faced or is currently facing a particular cancer either as a patient or caregiver and think they would be a good fit for our Ambassador program, send them our way!
Ambassadors lend their resources, experiences, and shared knowledge to help those either newly diagnosed or early in their fight. Ambassadors can be former caregivers, family members, or friends who aided in ones fight against cancer. Even surviving family members have invaluable experience and insights and would be welcomed into our community.
One of the best gifts you can give is the gift of knowledge.
5) Love & Laugh.
Our last recommendation for giving back to those facing cancer is to love & laugh.
If your friend and/or family is up for it, enjoy time together perhaps watching an old favorite movie, or some wonderful family home videos. Be present in the moment with them, find ways to share laughter and the love will follow.
Lastly, don't forget all those who have lost someone to cancer. The holidays are a difficult time for them too, so reach out to friends in need.
Together, we can do anything.