Friends and Family

Cancer doesn’t affect just the people diagnosed with it, but everyone close to them. We worry about them, we are scared we’ll lose them, we pain with them, and a lot of the time, we simply feel helpless.

It’s important to know how to approach it and truly be a friend in these sensitive situations. Most of the important things, as mentioned in an interview with health reporter Lori Hope, are:

“.. more about being than doing: be there, be generous. One woman [in the survey] had a friend who brought her a special gift for every chemo treatment. I had someone — and this was a remote colleague — who brought me a jar of homemade biscotti and some self-addressed cards for ordering more: plain, chocolate-dipped, chocolate with almonds. I don’t think I ever re-ordered, but I still have the postcard. I’m looking at it right now.”

And if you want to help, Lori advises:

“.. the nonspecific offer: Let me know if there’s anything that I can do. The patient is overwhelmed with decisions about health care, fears, concerns and isn’t thinking about day-to-day needs. If you really want to help, sit down, take a couple of minutes to think about what the person might need: Can I drive your kid to practice? Can I pick up your laundry? Can I take you out of lunch? Can I research something for you online? And if the answer is no today, ask again in a week. Check in.”

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