As longtime members of this community are aware, I launched Quiltlove after making a quilt for my friend’s young daughter, following her cancer diagnosis. Since those early days of chaos and fear, I’ve spent a lot of time talking with families about the best gifts for kids with cancer, and how support networks can wrap their caretakers in love during these unspeakably difficult times. With Childhood Cancer Awareness Month around the corner, I’m sharing my list of the five best gifts for kids with cancer. In addition, I’m announcing a special giveback that is near and dear to my heart. Read on!
1. Personalized Quilt From Their Biggest Fans
Wrap them in love they can feel, whether at home or in the hospital, with a personalized quilt from classmates, teammates, friends and family. Encourage your group to draw pictures of the child’s favorite sports, hobbies, or interests on their quilt squares, and choose fabrics in their favorite colors for a personalized, lasting and super snuggly gift.
10% of proceeds donated to charity in September
We are donating 10% of proceeds from all childhood cancer quilts organized through September 30 to the Children’s Cancer Research Fund.
Quiltlove quilts are one of the best gifts for kids with cancer because they are a tangible symbol of the child’s support network. You can actually wrap the child in your love with our handmade blankets. In addition, they work for groups large and small at an affordable price ($25/square). Lastly, our cozy and colorful blankets bring a warm and lively touch to hospital rooms and/or long days isolating at home.
“OMG Amazing. The girls are flipping out. It’s so wonderful. The timing of this couldn’t be better… It’s so beautiful.”– Lindsay
2. Food For The Fam
Caring for a child with cancer can be an emotional, physical and financial drain. Take something off the family’s plate by helping fill their literal plates. Coordinate meal deliveries with a group (I love Take Them a Meal), or simply bring a meal yourself. By helping nourish the family, you are enabling them to devote more time and energy to caring for their child, which is a gift in itself.
To be considerate about potential concerns over germs, fatigue, privacy and other factors, plan to leave your meal at the doorstep unless the family expressly asks you to stay for a visit.
Consider a small, self-contained toy that will entertain the child during long days spent alone. There are so many great STEM and craft kits on the market. If you can’t find one that suits you, LEGOs remain a classic for a reason. Look for gifts that are age-appropriate, meaning the child is challenged, but can complete the project without too much assistance from a caretaker.
4. Virtual Read Aloud
Set a standing date to read a book together, over Facetime, Zoom or the phone. It could be a chapter a day, or a set amount of time. Work with the family to determine if a standing prescheduled time can work (e.g. every afternoon at 3pm) or if it’s better to be flexible. I’ve listed some of my family’s favorite books by age range, below. Perhaps you have your own list of family favorites! Great read alouds are fun for the reader too.
- Ages 2-3: The Little Engine That Could, Whistle for Willie, Harold and the Purple Crayon (toddler attention spans are short, so consider picking up a stack of story books from your local library that you can make your way through)
- Ages 4-5: Assorted Shel Silverstein Poetry
- Ages 6-8: Pippi Longstocking
- Ages 9-10: Charlie and Chocolate Factory
- Ages 11-13: The Princess Bride
5. Donation To The Cause
Whether a child in your life is going through leukemia, has a tumor, or is facing a different type of cancer, consider making a donation to a nonprofit organization working in that space. If you are unsure of where to donate, it is perfectly acceptable to ask the family. Alternatively, Charity Navigator does a good job of helping compare various nonprofit organizations so you know exactly where your money is going.
Has a child in your life been diagnosed with cancer? How did you support them and/or their family? Did you give a quilt, make a meal, read a story, or participate in a fundraising event? How did it go? Perhaps you found another meaningful way to show your support. This is such a special topic to me and I would love to hear from you to keep the conversation going.
As always, thanks for reading.