Cancer is one of the most tragic illnesses a person can endure. Treatments are long and painful, and they don’t always guarantee a successful recovery. Battling cancer is physically and mentally draining.
It can be financially draining as well due to bills for constant medical treatment and time away from work.
As horrible as cancer is, it can also bring out the best in humanity. People come together in support of those who are afflicted with this terrible illness, often acting in selfless ways. Who wouldn’t want to do the same?
No matter where you are in life, there is always something you can do to support cancer patients. You may have no idea where to start, but that’s what brought you to this article in the first place.
Read on to learn how you can make a direct impact in the lives of those struggling with the Big C.
1. Donate To Awareness And Support Groups
It’s sometimes difficult to know how exactly to support cancer patients, especially those you’re not close to. Lending your support isn’t as easy as knocking on the patient’s door and asking them what they need.
In cases such as these, the best solution is to lend your support to a cancer awareness or support group.
For example, let’s say you hear about a member of your local community who was just diagnosed with breast cancer. You might not have a close enough relationship to feel comfortable approaching them directly, or you simply don’t know how.
If you donate to breast cancer research and support, you can assist them and many others indirectly.
A vetted cancer charity has the resources and connections to make a difference in ways that you’re not capable of. Your donations can make a difference not only in your local community, but around the world.
2. Accompany The Patient To Appointments
If you do have a personal relationship with the patient, you can help in more tangible ways. Cancer sufferers have to go to a lot of appointments. Chemotherapy, radiation, heart scans, and even regular check-ups will overwhelm their schedule.
These appointments consume a lot of time and energy — not to mention gas money. You can offer a helping hand by alleviating some of the strains that come with these events.
By offering to drive a cancer patient to an appointment, you can remove a small piece of their financial burden by covering the gas for that trip. You can also accompany them to appointments as emotional support during challenging treatment sessions.
Undergoing chemo can be easier when you have someone supporting you throughout.
Cancer treatments are incredibly grueling. Many patients aren’t capable of driving after some of their appointments, or they may just lack energy in general. By acting as a chauffeur, you ensure that they’re safe on the roads and don’t overexert themselves on their road to recovery.
3. Provide Helpful Distractions
While battling cancer, many sufferers get sick of the constant reminders of their illness. Loved ones may have good intentions, but constantly being asked about their cancer won’t always make a patient feel supported.
Every once in a while what the individual could really use is a good distraction from everything that’s going on in their turbulent life.
To make sure their social needs aren’t neglected, participate in or even organize a “friend train” (like a meal train). Make sure the patient, condition permitting, receives regular visits from participating friends so they know they haven’t been forgotten. Every once in a while, you might take the person out for a night on the town. Treat them to a baseball game, a round of bowling, or another fun activity to take their mind off of the endless hospital visits.
4. Get The Community Involved
There is strength in numbers. When a community joins together to support one of its own, everyone is the better for it. If someone you know has recently been diagnosed with cancer, rally the troops in a show of love and support.
A tried-and-true method of community support is holding a fundraiser. You can spearhead the efforts to put together a fun run, car wash, or community theater presentation. All proceeds will go toward individuals in the community who are in need of care and support.
Find ways to shine a spotlight on them so they’ll feel seen during this difficult time of their lives.
If putting together an entire event is too much to handle, seek out volunteer opportunities. The same organizations that accept donations will be more than happy to accept your time and talents to help with their mission as well.
5. Pick Up A Broom
When you’re dealing with cancer, keeping up with regular household chores becomes, well, a chore. Finding the energy to cook and clean is even more difficult after a round of chemo or a blast of radiation therapy.
While many people will send over meals to cancer sufferers, you can take your efforts a step further and play housekeeper.
Volunteer your time to help complete tasks that are piling up in the homes of cancer patients. Just an hour of your day can be used to do laundry, the dishes, or some light cleaning.
This assistance will mean the world to patients who are focusing all of their energy on beating cancer.
No one should have to battle cancer alone. Any way you can think of assisting a person with this awful disease is a good idea. Don’t hesitate to do even the smallest of things to help out cancer patients in their time of need.
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