We can all remember a time when a family member or close friend has given us the news. “I have breast cancer,” she say. Heart stops. Stomach drops. And after the disbelief fades, the grief swells. Cancer is brutally unfair, like a storm that catches us off guard. While the patient is the epicenter, their support network also faces a barrage of wind and rain. Today I’m sharing ideas for breast cancer gifts you can give when you just want to curl up and cry.
First, Let the Tears Run
First, allow yourself the time to experience your emotions before feeling the need to offer support. Crying is a natural part of grieving and is a healthy response to deep sadness. Experts believe that crying, a uniquely human trait, allows us to release stress and emotional pain. Think of crying as a safety valve that releases our emotional pain. Open the valve.
Whether you are crying with a loved one, a group of friends or relatives, alone, or all of the above, it’s okay. Studies show that crying releases endorphins that may even ease emotional pain, hence the notion of having “a good cry.”
Once you’ve had a chance to process a bit of your own initial sadness, you will be more capable of supporting someone who is going through treatment for breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Patients Need Your Support
According to the American Cancer Society, cancer survivors with strong emotional support systems tend to adjust better to the changes cancer brings. They also report a more positive outlook, and often a better quality of life.
When you are ready, pull yourself together and find ways to show your support. Doing so will make a huge difference in the life of someone with cancer. Chances are, it will make you feel a little bit better too.
Breast Cancer Gifts To Show Support
My favorite breast cancer gifts are personal, lasting and come from the heart. They show her you’re thinking of her, and offer genuine encouragement on difficult days. They are affordable and meaningful. In this guide, I’ve sought out gifts that not only fulfill these criteria, but can be beneficial to the gift giver too, during the trying times following a loved one’s breast cancer diagnosis.
Custom Group Quilt
Wrap her in the love of family, friends, colleagues and more with a community quilt. Everybody pays their own way in this group gift, making it an affordable and personal way to bring her support network together to give a high quality gift.
A breast cancer quilt will keep her cozy and warm in cold hospital settings. In addition, the custom squares featuring drawings, photos, prayers and well wishes from her support network will remind her of your love while she’s resting at home. Choose classic pink, or her favorite colors for a truly personalized gift.
From the giver’s perspective, the process of creating a quilt square can be therapeutic. Whether you are an artist or a casual doodler, putting pen (or paintbrush!) to paper can be a calming experience. For others, the process of poring over old photos or selecting a favorite prayer, poem or quote for their square feels good. At the end of the day, it’s not about the quality of the image per se, but the intention and love behind the sentiment.
Keep her spirits bright with a personalized playlist she can listen to during treatment or while resting at home. Pepper in a few throwback songs to remind her of fun times spent together. If you’re already giving her a group quilt, consider asking everyone who purchased a square to also select a song, for an extra special multi-sensory group gift.
Spotify allows groups to create collaborative playlists so groups can rock out together. Whether you are a full blown dancing queen, or simply listening on your commute, give it a try. Good music can offer a quick mood boost for you too!
Mail, Messages and Calls
Breast cancer treatment can span several months to a year or more, depending on the person. Keep the communication flowing after her initial wave of support has subsided. Phone calls, cute cards and text messages are inexpensive ways to offer personal, longer-term support.
As the person initiating the call, you may be relieved to hear your friend’s voice — and even uplifted by her progress. Although the news isn’t always good, I have found that it can be better to hear firsthand, rather than worrying alone. If you’re sending mail, the simple act of selecting a nice card or paper, and again, putting a pen to paper can feel good.
Designed by a breast cancer survivor, these Affirmation Cards by Anna Crollman of My Cancer Chic offer positive mantras to support her mental health through treatment and beyond. At the time of writing this blog post these cards were sold out, but with any luck they will be restocked soon.
Affirmation cards are an easy gift you can give if you’re short on time, but are looking for a meaningful present to send. You’ll feel good about having popped something in the mail that will brighten her days.
Bring a a group together to participate in a cause-related fundraising event in their honor. I love the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer events put on by the American Cancer Society, but countless other walks, runs, fashion shows, auctions, golf tournaments, etc. take place across the country. Find one in your local community that aligns with your interests and spread the word. Depending on the activity, events can be a great way to add some exercise, friendly competition and fun to your calendar. You will feel the solidarity of getting together with other supporters, all while fundraising for a cure — the gift she wants the most of all.
Has someone in your life recently been diagnosed with breast cancer? How did you support her? How are things going now? This cause is near and dear to my heart and I would love to hear from you.
As always, thanks for reading.